Huge thanks to CPM Online Marketing for inviting myself and a guest to visit Phamous Kitchen in Balmain. @threespoonsfull (aka Laarni) and myself headed out to Balmain to try out this recently opened Vietnamese restaurant on the main drag of Balmain. It shines with beautiful food presentation and their love of flowers on dishes.
PHAMOUS KITCHEN VENUE:
The above photo shows it all – one long venue from the entry to the back. Full bar to the left and kitchen and loos out the back. It’s lovely wooden tones give the venue warm feels and photo lighting a nightmare haha. We sat towards the back and didn’t mind but restaurants should stack patrons from the front window backwards. It lets people looking in feel the restaurant is much more packed than it is. Either that or they were putting the guy with the camera and light as far away from other patrons as possible. Not complaining – it was a lovely spot and the wood made for great backdrops in shots.
PHAMOUS KITCHEN’S VIETNAMESE FOOD:
I kicked off the occasion with a tempranillo and Laarni downed an entire coconut. This is the first time I have put a photo of her in an article, we dine together all the time, but I wanted to show off her nail game, always strong! But she might be pissed about that broken nail making the pic haha. The coconut was incredibly fresh and the wine was delightful.
The Vietnamse food at Phamous Kitchen is a little more gourmet than standard fare. A little mostly known fact, Vietnamese is my favourite cuisine – I cannot get enough of it. But most of the food we ate at Phamous was new, I had never tried it before. There was one dish I tried for the first time, Khot, possibly my new favourite Vietnamese dish.
They serve a lot of the standards, some great Vietnamese salads but no pho. But why would you want pho when you can try a Grilled Wild Barramundi or a Tamarind Half Duck.
WHAT WE ATE:
We had a strict budget to dine on so stuck to it. We ordered:
- Seared scallop on Betel Leaf with apple and mango salsa, spicy tamarind dressing with peanut and coconut
- Hanoi Roll – crab, prawn, wood ear mushroom, pork minces and nuoc cham
- Mini turmeric tart (Khot) – prawn, coconut gel, fish roe and baby coriander
WHAT I THOUGHT:
The first dish, the Seared Scallop on Betel leaf nearly ended the meal for me. I thought it was off or raw. Laarni seamed to woof hers down though so I kept my trap shut. It looked stunning but it tasted terrible. But the Hanoi roll quickly made up for this, it was more the size of a Chico Roll than a spring roll and tasted like the most gourmet spring roll of all time, it was bloody amazing – I could honestly pop in for a quick bag of four of these for a lunch or a dinner and be incredibly happy.
Then came the Khot and I don’t have the appropriate superlatives to rave about this dish – it was magnificent and will leave it at that. I will return for this dish alone. And we finished off with the below Braised Pork Belly. The pig is mine, if you haven’t met him yet, that is “Bacon,” my occasional dining guest, he is a cannibal and likes to pose in his own kind – I know I am a sick ****. But he makes good pics. As for the dish it was fantastic. The presentation alone should win awards. The pork for me was a little overcooked and dry but that broth and the accoutrements were sublime. The kale also maintained a good crisp. I would definitely order this one again. But next time I want that duck!!!
Two inconsistencies in the food saw Phamous Kitchen lose some points but the food that hit the mark smashed it out of the park. I will return for Khot and if I lived near Balmain Hanoi rolls would be a staple of mine. If you want some good gourmet Vietnamese food in the Balmain area give the peeps at Phamous Kitchen a look in.
SCORE BREAKDOWN: 2/3 food, 2/2 service, 1/1 drinks, 1/1 venue & ambience, 1/1 cost, 1/1 toilets and 0/1 bonus
Phamous Kitchen Deets:
PH: (02) 8668 5865
233 Darling St, Balmain NSW 2041
Mon, Wed, Thur: Sun: 5 – 10pm
Fri: 5 – 10:30pm
Sat – Sun: 1130am – late
BAR: Yes plus BYO Wine
LOCAL DELIVERY: Yes
VEGETARIAN OPTIONS: Yes
GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS: Yes
KID FRIENDLY: Yes
*** JK (and any guests of Spooning Australia) were invited guests of the establishment and/or any PR agencies representing them. However, as always, if it was shite I would happily tell you as such ***