This Ponsonby hole-in-the-wall serves up quick and reliable Vietnamese street food.
Vietnam has lured many a traveller to its shores thanks to its delicious street food. Who didn't envy Anthony Bourdain and Barack Obama as they enjoyed bún chả on Vietnam's famous plastic stools? For those who can't quite afford the flights there just for dinner, Eat Mi is here to answer your call. With two convenient locations in Newmarket and Ponsonby, it is perfectly placed for locals, those working in the area, or for an after-work dinner.
While the eatery offers both dine-in and takeaway, it was evident that dinner service is dominated by takeaway orders. It may have been the rain deterring diners from coming in, but there was a constant stream of Uber Eats and MenuLog drivers, showing their popularity on a cold evening.
The menu is designed as an easy, quick lunch to have there on the high tables or easily take back to the office. Eat Mi offers all the popular dishes one would expect a Vietnamese eatery to have including phở, rice paper rolls and bánh mì — the popular Vietnamese baguette served on every street corner in Vietnam. Based on the French traditional baguette, Vietnamese people have added their own touch by mixing rice flour to wheat flour, making the bread's texture light and crispy. Packed with rich pâté, pickles, fresh chilli, aromatic coriander and choice of meats, it's truly a flavoursome meal.
Eat Mi has been gaining popularity due to its fresh food, convenient dishes and dietary range with vegetarian and gluten-free options easily available. Opting to dine-in for the evening, we chose a starter and two mains to enjoy on a rainy spring night.
The Bun — Eat Mi's take on bao — comes with a variety of filling options. We chose the grilled sesame pork as per the suggestion of the staff. It was a great starter, filled with flavour but would struggle to stand up to the bao at Kiss Kiss and other Asian-fusion restaurants. The rice paper rolls (also grilled sesame pork) were filled with fresh ingredients and thankfully came with a delicious sauce as it would have been dry without.
For the mains, we ordered one of Eat Mi's specialities, the beef phở (noodle soup) which came with a mix of rare and slow-cooked beef. It was hot, fresh and a good serving size, and topped with some coriander with lemon and fresh chilli on the side. Despite the additions, it still lacked flavour and perhaps needed more fresh ingredients to create a more complex taste. Our other main, one of their most popular dishes, was the vermicelli noodles with lemongrass chicken. The noodles came with sauce on the side as well as a generous serving of lettuce, cucumber, pickled carrots, daikon and coriander. The chicken itself was well-cooked and full of flavour, especially paired with the sauce on the side. While there was a nice variety of ingredients on the dish, we still walked away feeling as if it was lacking something.
Eat Mi is sure to do well thanks to it's cleverly designed menu. Each dish is easy and quick to eat-in or takeaway and the prices are very reasonable for the serving size. Will it transport you to Vietnam and the complexity of flavours in each bite? Probably not, but it will fill you and serve up a decent Vietnamese-inspired meal while doing so.