After a big night out and an end to an eventful, packed and tiring O week, there’s nothing like a big bowl of pho in the morning to revitalise you. Mekong definitely isn’t the best, cleanest or cheapest pho joint in Melbourne, you can find better in Richmond and Footscray any day, but they did initiate me to the bowl of humble noodle soup about 13 years back.
Mekong just doesn’t give you the safest feel and I mean safe as in food safety. The tables are greasy, the decor simple, the laminated menus are frayed around the edges; all in all it just feels a little dodgy to me (not to mention I found hair in my pho before). But I was craving pho quite early in the morning and I couldn’t be bothered taking a train to Richmond.
So we went in, sat down and got a bowl of the large beef special each.
It came with more topping than I expected. There was a good mix of tendons, tripe, rare beef, beef bowls, beef sausages and marrow and I enjoyed exploring through the different textures and flavours. I especially like the beef sausage which was very peppery and appropriately meaty. Though, pho is all about the soup and the soup really wasn’t great. I’m not one who freaks out about MSG (yes, I know is not good for me, I will explain in a post one day, why it doesn’t bother me too much), but when the soup comes with an obvious tinge of green from MSG, that even puts me off. After hitting the soup with lots of fresh chili, lemon and thai basil, I became quite satisfied with my pho, but still I refrained from drinking all of the soup.
Oh, I also got a cold Vietnamese filtered white coffee to try and wake myself up, but it was way too sweet and heavy for my liking. I much prefer the version at Rice Paper next door.
I wouldn’t recommend going to Mekong, it really doesn’t offer much in terms of service, ambiance, food safety or taste. You are better off being a little bit more active (unlike me) and hopping on a train to Richmond for your pho fix. But regardless, Mekong, I will always thank you for introducing me to pho.