Phamous Kitchen is the new Vietnamese restaurant in Balmain.
It was like a scene from an American film set in the suburbs. We were sitting outside with autumnal leaves hitting our table and the afternoon sun warming our backs. Only, we were in Balmain and about to tuck into one of Sydney’s favourite cuisines right now – Vietnamese. Phamous Kitchen is a new restaurant located at the quiet end of Darling Street, only two shops down from another Vietnamese restaurant. Unlike the joint down the road, Phamous Kitchen caters to a different crowd. Here, you won’t find traditional Pho, rice paper rolls or bun me. While the menu features influences from these classic dishes, Phamous Kitchen offers inventive and contemporary Vietnamese food.
The interior is a long and narrow space with exposed wooden floors and plenty of soft lighting. It feels modern and clean, perfect for our casual lunch, a smart dinner or a special occasion.
We started with Phamous Kitchen’s take on the San Choi Bao with roasted duck, water chestnut, shiitake mushroom, lap chong and sesame ($7.50 for one). Regularly served at Chinese restaurants, this is an example of the Asian fusion dishes across the menu. It was light and juicy, a real winner. It went well with a glass of Pinot Gris from the full wine list.
At Phamous, Chef Thanh (“Tang”) Pham, previously of Bondi Wholefoods and Egg of the Universe, brings his health food background to the table. The dishes are mainly gluten free and there is an exclusive vegetarian menu with plenty of vegan options.
Next we dug into the Ga Gion, crispy Maryland Chicken served with black vinegar ($7.50 each). Definitely not a vegetarian option and i’m usually not a huge fan of fried chicken but this dish was not greasy. It was a good Vietnamese staple to try.
To complement the chicken, we ordered the Green Papaya Salad. Traditionally from Thailand, this salad came served with crispy pork belly and mango, dressed with peanut and a chilli and lime vinaigrette ($22). A great gluten free option, the salad was a generous serving and tasted fresh.
For the larger share dishes we were recommended the Tamarind Duck tossed in chilli tamarind & coriander ($29). This dish was standout, half a duck served in a sweet and sticky sauce.
My date is a massive fan of Massaman Curry ($25) so we also tried this classic Malaysian dish to compare how it rated. It stacked up well. The meat was melt-in-your-mouth and there was more than one potato (an added bonus I am told). This was another gluten free option.
Phamous Kitchen serves delicious, fresh Vietnamese fusion food in a relaxed setting. Despite the steep competition, we’re sure Phamous will be a success because it offers something a little bit different.
Phamous Kitchen is fully licensed and also BYO.