Pho Tam



 Shop 7-9, Leeds St, Footscray. Phone: 9687 2680

These days, when desiring to be out and about in Footscray central, we find it rewarding and less time consuming to park by the railways tracks, just around the corner from the Dancing Mutt.

In the days when we were still falling for the folly of attempting to park on the other side of the CED (Central Eating District), we often passed Pho Tam going elsewhere, mainly because it always seemed so crowded and busy.

I’ve spent an aimless day-off half-hour wandering between those two outer extremes of the CED with no particular place to go, as that zealous fan of multicultural food, Chuck Berry, once famously sung.

It’s Pho Tam or retrace my steps. I am happy to step through the doorway.

I like the plain wooden tables and chairs, the Viet pop at just the right volume and smiling, prompt service.

I especially like the symbolic artwork in the windows that links maps of Australia and Vietnam with a bowl and chopsticks. Pity it doesn’t photograph too well!

Customers are few, and for my most of lunch’s duration I am alone.

The menu is varied and full of interest.

I consider the mi Quang Bennie and I had tried the previous week at the brand new Braybrook place Quan Viet.

I finally decide on a dish I’ve never before seen in a Vietnamese eatery – goat curry (ca ri de). At $11, it’s a buck more than the chicken wing curry (ca ri ga) and the stewed beef (bo kho). Instead of noodles, I ask for the bread option.

I am surprised to get two crusty rolls with my bowl of intrigue. Asking if it’s mandatory to fully consume both, I am told that there’ll be no dessert for me unless I do.

As I expect, my curry is thin, mild and on the bone.

I like it  a lot.

The meat comes easily from the bone, though I thoroughly enjoy eating with zen-like deliberation in order to preserve teeth into which I have invested many thousands to the vast enrichment of my dentist.

Unlike many other experiences with cheaper, bone-in cuts of meat – both at home and eating out – there is little obvious fat, though for reasons both to do with squeamishness and healthiness I do set aside the bits of flabby goat hide.

There’s onions galore – thin slices and thicker chunks of the adult variety; chopped and segments of the young, green type.

But as with roti and Malaysian-style curry, in many ways the main event is the gravy/soup and the bread – and I’m surprised that I devour far more of my second, lovely role than I had expected.

Still, I do not quite finish it, so … no dessert for me!

The Footscray Food Blog review of Pho Tam is here.

Pho Tam on Urbanspoon

9 thoughts on “Pho Tam

  1. If you don’t mind a bit of ciggy smoke, I don’t think those characters are nearly as dubious as they appear. We often walk down with our dog and need a table outside. Several times they have shuffled chairs to give us seats for a table, and never have we been bothered by them. Love Pho Tam, the Vietnamese iced-coffees and vermicelli salads with spring rolls are some of the best around.


    • Thanks, Colette – that’s re-assuring. I like to think I have a high tolerance for Footscray street life, but sometimes it can be a bit daunting. Oddly, I never feel it at the equally, um, colourful stretch on the “other side” that boasts Babylon, Cafe D’Afrique and so on.


  2. I love their grilled prawn on sugarcane & noodles dish!! often rush by for takeaway lunch when i’m having an off day from those Vietnamese bread rolls


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