Banoi Fresh Vietnamese in Docklands
Banoi is an exciting bright new Vietnamese eatery in Docklands that impresses with its colourful vibrant ambience, keen service and interesting cuisine. It's a breath of fresh air on the Melbourne culinary scene. I've visited Banoi about 7 or 8 times since its opened and its now a lunchtime mainstay for The World Loves Melbourne. Some of my work colleagues also value Banoi as a destination of choice. In a sea of bain maries in Docklands, Banoi stands out with its fresh flavoursome cuisine including pho, banh mi, vermicelli dishes and rice paper rolls.
In terms of lunch time value deals, the $15 option at Banoi is excellent - pho, spring rolls, half a banh mi and a drink. Just fill out the form on the table and pass it to the wait staff.
I associate Vietnamese eateries with fine iced coffee and Banoi doesn't disappoint. They put a little condensed milk in the coffee for some extra sweetness.
The pho was delectable and served in this large cup. I understand that traditionally Vietnamese joints serve up pho in massive bowls, but I loved this kind of Vietnamese bento concept, of having a bit of everything. I don't always need a massive pho that feeds 6 families.
The pho itself was top notch and full of meat, with a tasty broth and quality noodles. The spring rolls were also tasty with appropriate crunch on the outside and excellent sweet chilli dipping sauce. And the banh mi was also flavoursome in crunchy fresh bread, with pork, carrot, garnish and paste.
When you add up the components you would surely pay more than $20 normally for such a selection.
Check out the Pork Vermicelli dish above - one of the favourites at Banoi. I love the explosion of colour and overall presentation of the meal.
And the Soft Shell Crab Vermicelli is sumptuous with crunch and then softness of crab and sweet and sour tastes of sauce over vermicelli. I was glad to see this dish as part of the $15 lunch deal. I found myself drowning in a sea of satiation and bliss as I imbibed. Banoi sells out of the Soft shell crab nearly every day.
Banoi boasts keen and enthusiastic staff who want to please and gain feedback. The owners are hands on and work on site, with Brock the young trendy face of Banoi. They have big plans and are executing step by step. An expansion of breakfast trade is planned to complement high demand at lunch and dinner.
Banoi prepares much of its food on site - which pleases office workers like me that struggle with too many bain marie meals in a row.
Banoi serves up some of the best rice paper rolls around. These rolls are giant and full of crunch and gourmet flavours, including the chicken and pork options, as well as duck. Grab some to take away, with a selection of sauces.
Check out the cheery chefs at work in the open kitchen... And the smiling staff (below)...
Banoi has a modern fit out with great use of timber, vibrant coloured tables, and funky lighting. I enjoy the stools with bike chain and pedals.
Banoi opens up its front area in summer, and the ambience is exceptional. Only in its initial first weeks of opening, Banoi has been consistently packed with office workers at lunchtime. They also do a roaring trade at dinner, and are building up their breakfast trade. The mood here is not aloof cool like some Melbourne establishments, but it brims with colour, noise and fun. Highly recommended.