Mama’s Buoi seeks to emulate the flavour, soul and communal spirit of eating in Vietnam. The restaurant lovingly reflects the story of Melburnian Bao Hoang and his childhood.
Sydney’s head chef, Tiw Rakarin, encourages guests to, “eat the food like a family”. His specials are quirky, if messy, twists on favourites. Tasty share plates demand you use your fingers (special mention to the squid-prawn ball impaled on sugar cane). Whole barramundi requires a full dissection at the table and the absurdly tender Wagyu sirloin will satisfy four.
A welcoming interior and cosy courtyard reflects the Mama’s Buoi philosophy. A dominating graphic reads “ME KHONG”, and family photos adorn the walls and line the menus. Greenery, including herbs used by Rakarin, thrive on windowsills. Rakarin uses fresh produce daily. With no cool room, raw ingredients are broken down every morning. Long, slow cooking – six to seven hours each day – provides the pho’s flavour without needing additives.
A great option for a quick, affordable lunch is the vermicelli salad and a beer for $19. The impressive drinks selection sees $5 Mountain Goat or DOC draught wine, as well as a $15 cocktail selection. Perfect for a quick business bite or for an evening with friends and family.