Price: $9.50 ($8.00 without Pate)
Verdict: Not bad but there are better options in town.
Tip: Ask for a freshly made bánh mì or a slight change to ensure it is hot and freshly made.
Location: Near QV1
First things first, we are sorry for the two months in between posting. We can assure you that we will be back this year. After recently crowning Le Vietnam the best bánh mì in the CBD, over our long time favorite City Provisions. We thought we would see what the ever popular Mama Tran was offering.
The bánh mì starts at $8.00 and is available in both pork (thit) and chicken (ga) varieties. Pate comes in at an additional $1.50, all up $9.50. Being the thrifty gentlemen we are, the inflated price tag had raised our expectations. For the sake of comparison you could get a double meat bánh mì for the same price from City Provs around the corner.
What disappointed us is that the bánh mì aren't made to order. They sit behind the counter and are dispensed shortly after ordering. If we had known they weren't made to order we would have asked for it fresh. The other alternative is to make a slight change to get your Banh Mi fresh and hot.
The roll was crunchy, but too dense and soggy, it was obivous that it had suffered from sitting around, pre-made. The bread roll itself is such a critical aspect of a good bánh mì, and the rolls from both Le Vietnam and City Provisions are far superior. What we do like though, is that you can help yourself to the various condiments on offer at Mama Trans. The usual suspects were present - cucumber, pickled carrots and coriander and were extremely fresh and delicious. In our opinion pate should be standard. It was a welcome addition, though. The braised pork was the highlight, being tender and extremely tasty. Overall, it is let down by being pre-made.
If the bánh mì were made to order with a nicely warmed bun, we might have a bánh mì to rival the others in town. Sadly, this is not the case. While the pork is worth coming back for, here at the Pavarotti we will be sticking to either City Provs or Le Vietnam.
Agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments below.