807 Bourke Street
+61 3 8080 9699
A couple of seasons ago, a triple date at Banoi was organised. We had heard much hype about it over Instagram and thought to check it out ourselves. Located in Docklands, where free cheap carparking is unheard of, The Angmoh and I did the smart eco thing and strolled across the Seafarers Bridge from South Wharf.
We were the first couple to arrive and started with an intense and sweet Vietnamese ice coffee and an icy custard apple smoothie, which could have used a bit more fruit. As we sipped on our drinks, I took in the décor and ooh—ed at the bar chairs made from bicycle gears.
The other 2 couples carpooled and not long after, Fakebooo and Fakebooobooo arrived, together with Damo and Kurt. They had come from dance class and were starving. Decisions were made quickly and it came down to a set of spring rolls, bun and pho for each couple.
Banoi has a creative take on Vietnamese dishes. Rice paper rolls nestle ingredients such as kimchi, taro fritters and pumpkin puree while bun (Vietnamese vermicelli) strays away from the Nước chấm dressing.
My soft shell crab bun came with an interesting chutney-like sauce. The crab had a muddy taste and the dressing was thick and overwhelming. I did like the imperial spring rolls though, they were crunchy and really yum. My dining companions who ordered the bun had theirs with lemongrass beef and silken tofu. They really liked it.
Fakebooo and The Angmoh decided to go with pho, with Wagyu beef as an added extravagance. The quality of the meat was top-notch, as expected, but the soup didn’t quite make the cut. Devoid of depth and dominated by an odd floral lotus-lime aftertaste, The Angmoh had to add a mountain of fresh chilli to his soup while Fakebooo declared “when all else fails, add Lao Gan Ma chilli oil!” and proceeded to do so.
I’ll be honest and admit that The Angmoh and I are extremely fussy with our pho. Banoi’s pho didn’t meet our expectations but the rest of the dishes were well-received and we demolished lunch pretty quickly, leaving a messy aftermath. Banoi makes a great dining option for the slowly expanding food network of Docklands.