Most people would be familiar with the ever so popular pho as one of the signature Vietnamese dishes, but how many of you have tried their rices and snacks? Mama’s Bưởi brings you vibrant, modern and tasty Vietnamese fare without losing that authenticity. From the modernised classic pho to homely stews, they have many dishes that took our fancy.
We walked through the GPO arcade thinking we’d dine at Kenzan but Mama’s Bưởi decor and vibrant colours caught our attention. It took the spot of the old Ramen Ya and has transformed the place with its neon lights, colourful dishes and checkered tables.
I was a little skeptical at the start because anything ‘modernised’ can be hit or miss but thankfully, at least what we ordered were satisfying.
We decided against ordering the usual pho and went with the hot pots (stewed dishes) instead. In fact, we ordered almost one of each, one of them being the lemongrass curry chicken on the bone, served with banh mi ($15). It was very aromatic with a mild and creamy curry sauce and chicken that fell off the bone. It wasn’t the first time I had a hot pot or stewed dish served with banh mi (the first time was at Ba’get) and it was very delicious. The bread soaked up all the juices of the hot pot perfectly.
The second hot pot dish we ordered was the bo kho – a rich aromatic stew of tender beef spare ribs also served with banh mi ($16). This dish was my favourite of the day. It was aromatic indeed with a lot of spices shining through and the broth was so tasty I seriously wanted to lick the bowl. There wasn’t enough banh mi to soak up all the sauce though, we really should have ordered a second serving of it.
The third hot pot was the caramelised pork belly and boiled free-range eggs braised in coconut juice ($16). This dish didn’t come with banh mi so we ordered a bowl of rice ($3) to have with it. It turned out that this dish was a tad too sweet for us, although the pork belly was seriously melt in my mouth and so juicy. If the sweetness can be toned down a notch would have made this dish my favourite. It was a little oily for Yuye as well but I thought that part was fine.
We also ordered the fried chicken ribs seasoned with five spice and a chilli-lime glaze ($10) as a side. It came before the hot pot dishes so we were well salivated after licking our fingers dry of all the spices from the ribs. The ribs were cooked well, still moist and juicy on the inside and crunchy on the outside. The drizzle of lime juice really brought out the flavours of the chicken.
I had a Vietnamese white iced coffee with my meal while Yuye had a beer. It was a bit too early in the day (we went for lunch) so didn’t get a chance to try anything from their cocktail menu. It would be a nice environment to have a couple of drinks after work too.
The verdict: We enjoyed most of our dishes and I liked the casual and vibrant atmosphere. It’s in a central location and can provide a nice quick bite or a social gathering, but be mindful that seats are limited.
Phone: (03) 9671 3426
Address: G25 Melbourne Gpo Melbourne, VIC 3000
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 11:00am – 11:00pm