Stay for the Bánh mì, not for the Phở
Mackayla Kafe is a recent addition to Errol Street in North Melbourne, a Vietnamese café that does coffee replacing a long standing organic café.
The menu is a bit of mish-mash between Vietnamese (Bánh mì, phở, skewers, rice paper rolls and BBQ pork with vermicelli) and ‘western breakfasts’ (bacon and eggs etc.) combined with a decent understanding of how to make coffee.
But for me the big draw card was a place that sold phở located near Errol St (the options are surprisingly limited in North Melbourne).
The pho offering was simple; chicken or beef in one size, priced at $10 a bowl.
The beef that I ordered took a while to make as they clearly were not producing it in large volumes like in the typical phở places we review.
The bowl arrived and was of a smaller, medium size, spring onion and coriander were finely chopped on top with the stock warm but not hot. The beef was more a chunk of meat partly cook and partly raw, not thinly sliced so much as a ‘mass’ of meat, there was no fat, but identifying its original and quality was difficult.
Because the stock wasn’t super-hot, the raw beef didn’t fully cook through or fall apart when it was being eaten which made a bit of a messy unsatisfying experience.
The condiments were limited to chilli sauce and hoisin and it came with bean sprouts and fresh chilli, it was all very fresh looking but it would have been nice to have basil or mint on the side as per usual.
The stock was mild in flavour and cloudy, it lacked complexity and was a bit bland, it was clearly not a 12 hour stock like most of the other places and seemed to be missing some of the key ingredients that give Pho stock a richer more exciting flavour.
So would I go back? For the coffee and the Banh-mi maybe…but not for the phở it should be well and truly be left to the professionals.
1. Stock: 1 – Bland and missing some key flavours
2. Inside: 3 – The meat was very disappointing but the onion and coriander on top was a nice touch
3. On the side: 2 – Bean shoots and chilli were fresh but lack of basil or mint was a bit disappointing
4. Extras: 3 – The service was good and I liked the coffee but this is not a place to return for phở
Address: 8 Errol Street, North Melbourne