Phở Victoria – North Melbourne

A quality phở oasis

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Phở Victoria has established a unique proximity, located half-way between Footscray and Victoria St Richmond (two of the Vietnamese food havens of Melbourne) in what can otherwise be described as a ‘phở wasteland’.

Attracting a mix of locals, Queen Vic market visitors (100 metres away) and Prudence visitors (a popular bar two doors away) ensures this place is rarely quiet. A complete lack of competition with other Vietnamese restaurants can sometimes lead to reduced quality, but this is not the case for Phở Victoria.

The menu is extensive, with all the usual Vietnamese dishes, however looking around (especially during the day) the crowd is well and truly here for the phở . The offering is variations of beef, but it also says vegetarian stock is available which I’ll be sure to check-out in the future.

Range of sides was standard: chilli oil, chilli sauce, hoisin and soy. Fresh chilli is available on request and is clearly freshly cut (very important).

Ordering the standard brisket and beef balls it arrived promptly with finely chopped spring and purple onions on top.

Great stock, slightly heavier in flavour and very cloudy it didn’t really need much in the way of sauces to enhance it which is testament to the quality, beef slices were of medium thickness, still thin enough to cook properly through In the hot broth and contained some fat.

Noodles were a bit soft, I suspect they might have been added when then the stock was very hot, the upside is the beef balls were properly cooked through and fairly tender (for a processed, out of the packed beef ball).

The produce on the side was pretty fresh, sprouts were good, basil wasn’t bad and there was a surprising inclusion of a slice of orange instead of lemon, which was extremely unusual…but is not actually a bad thing.

Overall Pho Victoria is a surprise hit, standing well on it’s own despite the total lack of competition.

  1. Stock: 4 – complex and strong, no condiments required.
  2. Inside: 3 – meat was fine onion on top keeps it interesting.
  3. On the side: 4 – Everything was fresh, chilli on demand keeps it fresh.
  4. Extras: 4 – Good service, tea is ok, some ambiance and worth a revisit.

Score: 15/20

Pho Victoria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Mackayla Kafe – Now Closed

Stay for the Bánh mì, not for the Phở 

Mackayla Kafe 1

Mackayla Kafe 3

Mackayla Kafe 2

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

Score: 9/20

Address: 8 Errol Street, North Melbourne