Mama's Buoi Tramsheds' Vietnamese eatery is the third Sydney incarnation — and the fifth one in Australia. This one's been spearheaded by Vietnam-born Mama Hoang, who's the soul of the business. She works closely with her son Bao and food director Jonathan Alston to bring her culinary skills and more home-style Vietnamese fare (just like mama used to make) to the masses.
If you've tried Mama's Buoi in Crows Nest or Surry Hills, you'll be familiar with the clean, light cooking style they go for, which is, according to Alston, what authentic Vietnamese food should look like. He brings a wealth of management experience to the business — he has more than 30 years of chef and management experience internationally, including in a couple of three Michelin-starred restaurants (under chefs Marco Pierre White and Michel Guérard). As a result, everything from food to decor is presented with meticulous detail.
Food wise, be sure to try the rice paper rolls filled with soft-shell crab and avocado — it's a great starter with fruity flavours. The calamari is a memorable dish and it's clear that there's a lot more in the citrusy secret seasoning than salt and pepper. For vegetarians, the eggplant with aniseed basil and chilli is a strong choice. Then there's the pho, a filling house classic, which uses a traditional brand of Vietnamese noodles. There's also a colourful selection of drinks including the kombucha pink lemonade frozen cocktail and the Miss Saigon with gin, mint, strawberries and lime.
Despite its stationing at bustling Tramsheds, Mama's Buoi is a more intimate space than other locations. In addition to being one of just a few Asian eateries at the heritage-listed site, the bright pastel colours, floral seats and hanging foliage make the eatery hard to miss. And a wall mural of Mama Hoang in her younger years watches over customers eating the dishes she's served to her friends and family for decades.
Images: Mathilda Hill-Smith.