Can I get a hands-up for everyone else who lives south of Victoria Street, that cries themselves to sleep at night, riddled by the unshakeable misery evoked by what can only be described as one of the shittest things about living in the southside? We are way too far away from Melbourne’s best pho. Alas!
Our problems, dear southsiders, may very well be solved—let us rejoice and join in song to the rafters in warm welcome of new Vietnamese hotspot, Mopho Canteen, setting up shot on the increasingly bustling Carlisle Street in Balaclava.
After exploring the streets of Ho Chi Minh City, head chef Adam Davies (ex Circa, Melbourne Wine Room & Mr. Wolf) has come back to Melbourne’s to set up this Vietnamese hawker style canteen, serving up some of Melbourne’s best pho and authentic street-food bites.
The décor is casual, yet cool, and is perfect for almost any occasion—from a casual post-gym pho session to a Saturday night sipping cocktails and dishes from the sharing-style appetiser menu, seated along one of the communal stool-lined tables.
Despite the open kitchen and relaxed vibe, the food is far from simple. Adam has curated a unique and exceptional menu, with traditional dishes such as prawn crisps, DYI pork spring rolls and soft shell crab, to must-tries like glazed chargrilled chicken hearts and seared tuna with green papaya and herbs.
But, all nibbles and trimmings aside, there are few life pleasures greater than the slurping of rice noodles, complimented by rashes of rare sliced beef and various leaves and accompaniments. Thus, the reason Mopho Canteen has piqued our interest so very much, is their hero dish, the great pho.
Coming in three varieties—beef, chicken, or veg, mushroom and tofu—this is truly a top-notch dish that rivals any of Melbourne’s best pho. Adam’s philosophy is true to Vietnamese tradition—cooking the broth low and slow, allowing the flavours to truly develop into an orgasmic sensation for the taste buds.
If you’d rather just get porked, there is also a ‘feast’ option of an entire suckling pig with all the sides and trimmings—you’ll need 2 days notice and a minimum of 8 people though to polish this sucker off!
And to finish off a simple, yet perfectly crafted menu, the Mopho dessert of chocolate mousse, coconut ice cream, lychees and freeze dried raspberry is a SERIOUS must try. And from one coconut addict to another, this may just be the best coconut ice cream you will ever taste.
Mopho Canteen is most definitely a contender for Melbourne’s best pho, and has brought some super authentic, quality and flavorsome Vietnamese cuisine to the southside #hallelujah.
Image credit: Jenna Fahey-White for The Urban List