Friday, 25 May 2012

Miss Mai, James Place

Miss Mai is fairly new hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese eatery in James Place. I've walked past it a couple times previously but thought today's bone-chillingly cold weather necessitated a seriously warming lunch - beef pho fits the bill perfectly.


I'm no pho expert but it seems customary to serve pho with a big plate of fresh herbs - Miss Mai serves her's with chopped chilli; crunchy bean sprouts; coriander; heady, aniseed-y Vietnamese basil; and a wedge of lemon. I would have liked to see a sprig mint as well but given that the mint bush is my back yard has crapped itself at the moment I can only presume that mint isn't in season at the moment and will hopefully make an appearance on Miss Mai's side of herbs once it is.


The pho broth wasn't clearest I've had but it was choc full of flavour - steaming hot and sweeter than I'm used to (which is no bad thing), salty, peppery and with a slight hint of star anise. A perfect warmer for a wold Autumn day.

In my opinion this pho was a bit light on with the rice noodle but this was more than amply made up for by the plentiful and tender beef.


At $8 for a small bowl (which is more than sufficient) I'd return to Miss Mai's for the pho - but I'll definitely be going for the DUCK banh mi! Who'd have thought that such a wonder would exist?

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Banh Mi - Vietnamese Rolls, China Town Food Court

Continuing on my righteous quest to find Adelaide's best banh mi yesterday I dined at Banh Mi - Vietnamese Rolls in the China Town Food Court. To paraphrase their claim, these guys can definitely roll (bit of a sandwich pun there - get it?) with the best.

I ordered a roast pork roll with a Vietnamese iced coffee which set me back about $11. A little on the expensive for lunch but not so much that it'll break the bank.


There are two things that differentiate the banh mi here from elsewhere. The first is their size - these banh mi are big boys. Much bigger than any of the other banh mi I've seen in the Adelaide CDB. The second is the mayonnaise and pâté combination slathered on the bottom half of the rolls. Occasionally this bottom layer has been so thick, rich and cloying that it makes it difficult to finish the sandwich. Not yesterday - the ratio if pâté to filling was perfect.


Can I just say that I love Vietnamese iced coffee? Iced cold, sweet and almost chocolate-y banh mi's version is refreshingly good. Is it blasphemous to say I prefer it to Farmer's Union Iced Coffee? 


I'm intrigued by the statement on the roll package telling you that the roll is to be eaten within an hour or refrigerated. If you are not eating a roll this good immediately you are doing it a serious disservice.


Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Yumalicious, Victoria Square - again

I was so impressed with Yumalicious yesterday (especially the service) that I decided to return for lunch today. And I also happened to be running an errand to the post office which is just nearby.

Today I ordered egg noodles with BBQ chicken, mushrooms and cabbage from their ready to go bain marie. I also scored another FREE cup of chicken and corn soup.


Firm, salty and well oiled (sounds sexy, right?) the BBQ chicken was well flavoured and toothsome. Braised without being mushy the mushroom retained its firm texture and some earthiness. Unfortunately, the cabbage had nothing to recommended it - neither flavour not texture. The egg noodles were a little bland but not at all greasy and did a wonderful job of soaking up the sauce from the chicken and mushrooms.

Today's soup seemed more likely to be out of the can than yesterday's (probably the same soup mind you) but it was heavily peppered and hot and therefore enjoyable.

A pretty good meal for $7.80 but not quite as good as yesterday's. The service was just as friendly though.

I noticed today that Yumalicious also do banh mi so I might try and check that out tomorrow.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Yumalicious, Victoria Square

Free chicken and corn soup. That's right - FREE. The generous offer of free soup sums up the attitude of the staff at Vietnamese eatery Yumalicious. They are always welcoming, impossibly cheerful and generous.


The hot soup kept my fellow and I punters warm during the short wait for our meals. And it was pretty darn good soup too. I don't think it was from a can even though it had that slightly glutenous texture I associate with canned soup because it had a delightful Vietnamese-y tang rather than that metallic tang.

I ordered the lemongrass chicken which came with broth and a dipping sauce. 


With subtle undertones of star anise followed by onion bite the broth was warm and nourishing. If I had to guess I'd say that the slightly spicy dipping sauce was a nouc mam cham - that ubiquitous Vietnamese side of fish sauce, chilli and garlic.


Though plump, juicy and golden the chicken could have probably done with more of lemongrass hit - but that's a minor compliant. The rice was beautifully cooked and the tomato and cucumber provided a fresh crunch.

Yumalicious - come for the food. Come back for the friendly service (and occasionally free soup).