Embattled Marrickville banh mi store is basically three Vietnamese women working in cramped quarters in the Up house. The recipient of frequent fines for food safety and cleanliness, Marrickville Pork Roll has been variously described as the best or second best pork rolls of the inner suburbs.
Sliced pork banh mi ($6). This banh mi is not faultable. The bread was fresh and soft. There was a good variety and quantity of both salads and meat. The pate was applied generously. This pork roll ticked all the boxes.
Crackling pork belly banh mi ($8). The review is essentially the same, with the change in meat. Great crispy texture. Lots of delicious pate. Can’t go wrong.
Overall I think Marrickville Pork Roll produces some pretty unfaultable banh mi. The problem is that banh mi has developed to so much of an art form that there are multiple equal-level competitors vying for first place.
Khoi Eatery has a strong social media game – so strong in fact, that I ate there after initially intending to have lunch at Khoi’s in Surry Hill – a completely different business.
Unfortunately the COMBINATION PHO PHỞ ĐẶC BIỆT (Regular – $14) was pretty standard. It was not bad, but there was nothing standout about it. The rare beef was not particularly rare, and the brisket, tripe, and tendon were all good but not amazing. The beef balls were probably the only part that was better than average, with a special texture to it. The soup was not a standout either.
Chopped fresh chilli was served inside this jar with no utensil, which given the current COVID-19 climate (this meal was eaten in late 2020) I was hesitant to touch. I would have felt much safer had this been served on a plate – who knows how many people have had their grubby hands in here?
The CHARGRILLED PORK SKEWERS (NEM NƯỚNG LỤI – $10) were not bad, but not what I expected. Not being Vietnamese I did not know that these would be minced meat, like kofta or seekh kebab. They had a sweet taste, similar to char siu.
The other half was busy studying for her ANZCA primary and unwilling to leave her cave. I brought home a serving of BBQ PORK CHOP BROKEN RICE (CƠM TẤM SƯỜN)($13) as takeaway. This was actually quite a good dish – the BBQ pork was tasty and nicely marinated, and there was a good quantity of it. The sunny side up egg was cooked to a perfect degree of runniness. It also happened to be extremely cheap. I suspect that had I eaten this at the restaurant my overall impression of Khoi Eatery would be better.
OVERALL My overall impression is that Khoi Eatery is fine, but not great. There’s nothing particularly wrong with their food, but also nothing particularly right. I ate at Khoi Eatery so that you don’t have to. See what else might be available up the road.
Installing Doordash for the first time and taking advantage of their first month’s free delivery gave me the opportunity to try foods from a whole different catchment. Ho’s Bakery and Cafe in Sydenham, while not available to me on UberEats or Deliveroo, was ripe for the picking on Doordash.
I really enjoyed all the rolls that Hos’ had to offer.
The bacon and egg roll ($6.50) was excellent. The crispy, salty bacon and the mellow egg complemented each other perfectly, and the bread was soft, unintrusive, and not too much. One of the better bacon and egg rolls I’ve had. I’ve literally ordered the bacon and egg roll multiple, multiple times. It’s just that good.
I don’t normally go for chicken rolls ( $7) but for Ho’s I made an exception. I enjoyed the roast chicken, and the slightly peppery sauce that was provided. It did feel a bit more wholesome than the sliced cold pork roll that I usually get. Many stars.
Ho’s pork roll ($6) was good and filling. In my honest opinion the quality rivals Hong Ha’s. I liked that the bread was soft and didn’t cut my mouth.
The fish burger ($6.50) let me down, however, which I guess is understandable as it is outside of their wheelhouse.
The pho ($14) is quite bad and I cannot recommend it.
What can I say? I really enjoyed the pork roll, chicken roll, and bacon and egg roll from Ho’s Bakery and Cafe. Their rolls are imbued with all round good quality and good taste. I would however stay away from the fish burger and far away from the pho.
We’ve been on a bit of a Vietnamese food journey recently, and when Kinhboy popped up on my radar last week with good preliminary reviews online we knew we had to try. Unfortunately they did not quite live up to their hype.
The banh xeo tacos with crackling pork belly (2 for $16) were pretty unextraordinary. While the filling of crackling pork, vietnamese slaw and sauce was tasty, juicy and fresh, the “banh xeo” exterior shell was a letdown. Taking our experience at Banh Xeo Bar as a baseline we would characterise this banh xeo taco shell as too hard (but not crispy) and a bit stale tasting.
Kinhboy’s beef short rib pho ($18) was actually very good. The meat was very juicy and tender, cut into bit sized pieces and rearranged on the bone. The broth was rich and tasty. My one complaint would be that this dish was served with the bean sprouts within the soup, meaning that we did not have the opportunity to add our own at our own pace. This meant that they got quite soft and cooked by the end of our meal, while we like them a bit more crunchy and less cooked.
I had very high expectations for the Crispy Chicken Supreme ($21), cooked in the French style in nuoc cham buerre blanc. Unfortunately my expectations were not met. The chicken itself was dry, and the skin hard but not crispy – a significant downgrade from the chicken I recently had at Khoi’s in Surry Hills. The sauce, while tangy and creamy, didn’t really go well with the chicken. Even when dipped the chicken had difficulty holding onto the sauce, and my partner felt like the flavours did not match well ( I don’t feel as strongly about this.) While the Jasmine Rice ($4) was a good suggestion from our waitress (like at Banh Xeo Bar, all of Kinhboy’s waitresses were White while all the Asians were kept in the kitchen) to soak up the sauce, it ultimately just didn’t cross the line into P+ territory for us.
My partner wanted me to leave some good vibes about this Cherry Bomb ($18) cocktail.
While the beef short rib pho was a hit, our other two dishes were a disappointment – sad because I really wanted to like it. Despite a pretty average time at Kinhboy we did dine at sister restaurant Tokki a couple of days later – keep your eyes and noses peeled for that review soon.
Not to be confused with the much more disappointing Khoi Eatery in Marrickville, Khoi’s in Surry Hills is a completely different, much better, family-run Vietnamese restaurant.
My partner is a big fan of corn. I have never known her to see corn on the menu and not want it. While I would have preferred some of Khoi’s visually appealing chicken wings, compromises sometimes need to be made. Nevertheless, the crispy buttered sweet corn, marinated with chipotle mayo ($10) was a hit. We liked how not all surfaces of all kernals were battered. We liked the buttery richness of the dish to start, however soon found that the portion was perhaps a bit big for the two of us to share – it was really more suited to four people. After a while corn just gets a bit lukewarm and boring. I wasn’t able to identify any chipotle or spicy flavour to this dish, but despite this it was quite good. I would NOT recommend this for a couple (unless your partner is a corn fanatic) however can recommend this for larger groups.
The Crispy spring rolls of pork, black mushrooms, and glass noodles ($10) were quite good. They had a complex flavour and texture that is rare in the spring roll world.
Khoi’s beef noodle soup, combination of rare Black Angus beef, brisket, beef balls & thin slice of ox tail ($18) was really good. The slices of rare Angus beef were tender. The brisket and beef balls were also good, however I have to give a point to Khoi in Marrickville for their beef balls over those at Khoi’s in Surry Hills – the one at this restaurant did not particularly stand out. We couldn’t identify any ox tail in our pho, however this was not really a bad thing as I often find ox tail too fatty and oily, like I did when we had ramen at Spanish Sakaba.
The skin of the Super crispy skin Bannockburn Chicken cooked in Khoi’s master stock, ginger, shallot ($20) was, true to its name, super crispy. What this dish’s long name failed to mention, however, was that the meat inside was also very tender and juicy. The flavour was tasty but not too tasty, and I really enjoyed every last morsel of this chicken. My partner commented that it was not cooked as well as the Korean chicken from Soul Dining (also in Surry Hills), but I think she is wrong. I think they are both very good, and can recommend this dish.
Overall I really enjoyed my meal at Khoi’s in Surry Hills. There are plenty of other dishes on the menu I’d like to try, so I would both recommend eating here and plan for a second trip.
5/5 bok boks who are allowed to roam during the day but locked up at night “for their own protection”.