Most cultures have a word or a phrase that means “mummy’s boy”. In Italian it is mammone, in Greek mamakias. And while “buoi” is actually the Vietnamese word for a type of grapefruit, the name of this traditional Vietnamese eatery is in fact a play on words by founder Bao Hoang, and a reflection of love and admiration for his mother, and recipes he learnt from her along the way.
I had often walked past its little corner in Crows Nest, seeing heads bent over steaming pho or munching on rice paper rolls. The place doesn’t take bookings, but on a cold and wet Sunday night we are in luck and seats are free in the small indoor area, as most of the seating is outside. I’m having a long overdue catch up with a lovely friend; like the Marito, she is a vegacquarian, so we stick to vegetables and a fish dish. Everything that comes out is tasty, light and fragrant, and I would happily come back to try some of the meat dishes. The staff are friendly and attentive too.
We start with some fresh rice paper rolls with mushroom and tofu
Followed by this delicious dish of smoky eggplant with a slight hint of chilli. My friend, who has an ambivalent relationship with eggplant, loves it.
Mushroom and snow pea stir fry, simple and tasty
The barramundi, marinated in lemongrass and kaffir lime comes with a decent chill hit and is very fragrant, though the fish is a little overcooked
It is a pleasant and unfussy meal in a relaxed environment, just what we needed to cram in a few months worth of conversation.
For groups, there is a $49 banquet menu
Mama’s Buoi, 77 Willoughby Road, Crows Nest, Ph 02 9438 5005