Mekong is where I had my first ever bowl of steamy pho ga. A friend had swiftly taken me by the hand and led me to the no-frills restaurant back in 2008. For this reason, Mekong will always have a place in my heart, having since ventured off to slurp the pho in Vietnam and most of Melbourne.
Unfortunately, the quality at Mekong is turbulent. One day I may experience the best pho and the next, it will be a seemingly flavourless MSG laden bowl. Having been both pleasantly surprised and disappointed over the course of the years, Mekong dropped off my pho radar.
What led us to revisit Mekong was a late night conference, Festival21, which left us hungry and stranded in Melbourne’s CBD. Fast approaching the closing hour of most pho restaurants, we were like gypsies in the night in search of a big bowl of comforting rice noodles. Mekong is open later than the others so our search led us back to the brightly lit, stripped back décor of Mekong.
We both opted for a large bowl of beef and chicken. Soon thereafter, a huge bowl of pho was plonked in front of us with the obligatory thai basil, bean sprouts, chilli and lemon. Despite our trepidation, this was a very decent bowl of herby pho. The meat was so generous and of really good quality. The thinly sliced rare beef was melt-in-the-mouth good and the thick chicken slices were of surprisingly high quality.
Mekong is kind of like the Russian roulette of pho restaurants. When it’s good, it’s hellishly good and when it’s bad, you’ll leave thirsty with a stirring MSG headache. If it were a little more consistent, I would add Mekong to my trusted pho restaurants but unfortunately this has not yet been my experience.