Nice Bánhs | Vietnamese at Paperboy Kitchen

By Ella Pleasant
25th Apr 2014

Paperboy Kitchen is Melbourne's latest pop-up to set up permanent digs — and we couldn't be happier!

Known for its Vietnamese-inspired street food, Paperboy first launched at The People's Market in Collingwood last year, garnering a strong following in just a few short months of business. After the food stall market closed, owner Adam Milgrom set up shop on Little Lonsdale Street, much to the delight of workers the city over.

We joined the lunchtime rush to check out Paperboy's first home and jeez… ain't it just the cutest! The small canteen has been kitted out in knick knacks, with plastic animals lining the shelves (they also serve as table numbers) and a 'nice bánhs' painting providing a bit of cheeky humour. The place was packed, but we were lucky enough to snag a prime spot at the shop-front bar.

'What about the food?' I hear you cry. Well, the menu may be short, but, boy, is it sweet! There are five or six items on the board at any given time, with delights such as BBQ chicken, pulled lamb and panko fish currently on offer, either packed into a traditional bánh mì or piled high on top of a bún rice noodle salad.

First up: the bún bowls. All of the rice noodle salad bowls come loaded with Asian slaw, a house-made carrot and daikon pickle, fresh coriander and a generous (completely appreciated) squirt of Sriracha mayo. The BBQ Chicken Bowl, topped with a hefty helping of marinated free-range chicken, is one salad I could definitely make friends with. Same goes for the Pulled Lamb & Hoisin affair. While the lamb — slow cooked to melt-in-your-mouth perfection with a sticky hoisin sauce — may not be traditionally Vietnamese, it all sure-as-heck worked a treat.

As you all know, we love a bánh mì here at The Urban List, and we just couldn't go past Paperboy's slow cooked beef bánh mì with a pho dipper. What's a pho dipper? It's your favourite Vietnamese soup, simmered down into concentrated, gloriously beefy syrup that you dunk your baguette into. Pure, unadulterated, pho pleasure. While the bánh mì by itself was pretty spectacular (ohhh, that tender, tender braised brisket!), the pho dipper took the humble baguette to a whole new level of tasty.

Let's hold up and take a second to talk about the crispy fried chicken. Nothing makes me angrier than a dry, stringy wing, and Paperboy's certainly don't fail to please with moist meat, crispy skin and a little dipping basin of Sriracha mayo. My god, that mayo. It comes with most things on the menu, and by the end of our visit we were completely addicted to the stuff. Fill a bath and let me swim in it, it's that good.

Drinks-wise, they offer a range of organic sodas along with freshly cracked coconuts (complete with a cute little umbrella), as well as Vietnamese-style ice coffee stained with condensed milk.

After scoffing the bowls, baguettes and wings and finishing our party-time coconuts we were pretty much at bursting point. As we thanked Adam and waddled towards the door, we spotted a huge plate of chunky Milk Bar Cookies: a salty sweet cookie packed with chocolate chips, nuts, pretzels, and other goodies from your corner shop thrown into the mix. Our stomachs said no, but our hearts sang yes. Don't leave without one (or three).

CBD workers, you're in luck — Paperboy has hinted at plans for a catering and bicycle delivery lunch service. Too. Darn. Excited.

Paperboy Kitchen | 320 Little Lonsdale Street

Image Credit: Ryan Noreiks, The Urban List.

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