You’ll be ’appy with iPho



Getting the tip on places I should check out has led to some very ordinary meals, including a fish curry shudderingly memorable for all the wrong reasons.

So it was with some trepidation we headed to iPho on Collie Street, following a tip from an old acquaintance.

It’s the former Han Cafe, with the decor stripped down, modern and minimalist—unlike the menu which is so mouth-watering and extensive that narrowing down to a choice was hard work.

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We passed on the jellyfish salad rolls entree in favour of seared salmon rolls ($10.50) and Vietnamese fish cakes ($11).

The salmon rolls were head-explodingly fantastic: translucent, wafer-thin wraps held a delightful mix of finely sliced salmon, cucumber, mint, coriander, peanuts and coconut. Delicate, tasty. Yum.

The fish cakes were almost as good, less chewy than the Thai version and more robust, with spring onion and garlic for a very different taste

We compromised on a choice of mains—well, the married sort of compromise, we had what I wanted. (He did get his salmon rolls after all).

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Having been tipped off the crepes were great we ordered a vegetarian version ($22.50). It’s art on a plate, a beautifully crisp, thin pancake, flavoured with coconut and palm sugar and filled with still-crunchy vegetables.

Our helpful waiter explained it’s best eaten by hand, wrapping a slice of the crepe in a lettuce leaf, with mint and coriander and dousing it in fish sauce.

The crepe filling was quite bland on its own, but eaten Vietnamese-style was brilliant.

A dunk in a finger bowl and we were ready to tackle the big cahuna, the clay pot fish ($28.50).

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Huge chunks of barramundi were cooked in a caramalised soy sauce, providing a wonderfully rich, earthy flavour hard to describe but oh, so easy to devour.

Suffice to say we kept eating long after our tummies had piteously cried “stop, please, for the love of God, stop”.

With my distended stomach threatening to pop a button I declined dessert, but not so D’Angerous Dave who valiantly tackled a coconut ice cream, minus lychees ($11.90). It came with a liberal topping of grated palm sugar and chopped nuts and he wolfed it down.

With thanks to my informer, iPho has defintely been added to my list of favourite eateries and it should be added to yours.

iPho Vietnamese Cuisine
25 Collie St, Fremantle
9335 8520 | Open Tues–Sun
11.30am to 9.30pm

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