APART from Clancy’s and Raffles, the steep hill leading down to Canning Bridge in Applecross has historically been a culinary graveyard.
Many restaurants and cafes have come and go, struggling to get a foothold in this quirky fiefdom, where parking can be a travail and the rich often polish their gems instead of spending them.
Hopefully the new high-rises being built at the Canning Bridge precinct will help more restaurants stay the course.
One of the new players on the block is Delish Pho & BMT, situated in the ground floor of the chic Sabina development.
The Vietnamese eatery specialises in beef pho, banh mi, rice noodle dishes and starters.
They also sell a range of beverages including Vietnamese iced coffee, lychee soda and fresh watermelon juice.
It’s a no-frills, semi-budget affair with a basic counter, narrow dining space and minimalist wooden tables and chairs.
The busy, hair-net wearing staff were clearly multi-tasking as they shuttled between the counter and tables with giant bowls of steaming-hot food.
Most of the patrons were of South-East Asian descent with many talking in their mother tongue – a telltale sign the food was well-priced and authentic with combination rice dishes like Com Suon Dac Biet (grilled pork chop) especially popular.
Blaring away in the corner was a TV showing what looked like an Asian version of The Voice with young performers belting out syrupy power ballads that would make Bette Midler cry in her sleep.
This aside it was a pleasant but basic pitstop with the large floor-to-ceiling windows transforming the Canning Highway into an interesting and perpetually changing work of art.
The menu had a small but interesting range of Pho including combination, ox tail, beef ball and beef brisket.
But I couldn’t go past the Pho Tai with rare beef ($16.30) which was nicely presented with a mound of thinly-sliced pink beef semi-submerged in a moreish broth. A good Pho lives or dies by its broth – this had a light “clean” version with no greasy slick on top and plenty of spring and red onions.
It was the perfect base to dump in the beansprouts, cilantro, chillies and spicy paste.
Once everything was mixed into a murky concoction it tasted delicious and the beef wasn’t chewy or fatty, while the rice noodles were lovely and light. A good quality and very filling Pho.
The staff were very friendly and accomodating and happy to make a non-chilli version of the Banh Mi Ga Huong ($9) for my young kids to share.
It was a substantial offering, stuffed with grilled chicken and a medley of veggies and greens including shredded carrot and cilantro.
Freshly made at the counter, the baguette had a lovely crunch and was fluffy and light inside.
The kids wolfed down the sticky chicken, enjoying its sweet-savoury tang.
The only disappointment was the vegetable spring rolls (three for $7.70).
They were piping hot, but had a very peculiar flavour and seemed totally off the mark. Maybe that’s how they’re meant to taste, but it didn’t do it for me and my kids.
Barring the Asian power ballads, I enjoyed my visit to Delish Pho & BMT, which is an interesting and slightly quirky addition to the Canning Bridge precinct and hopefully a sign of things to come.
Delish Pho & BMT
908 Canning Highway, Applecross
by STEPHEN POLLOCK