Unassumingly positioned on the back wall of a concrete courtyard in Darlinghurst, lies a hub of authentic street food and aromatic culture. Phamish is one of those restaurants that has withstood the tests of the food world cycles, always on the hunt for the newest cuisine or the chicest décor, but, therein lies its charm, and after dining at Phamish, you’ll never want to eat Vietnamese anywhere else again.
Phamish has done the rounds in Good Food, Concrete Playground and the rest of the Sydney food press, but for the last four years there has been little mention of the restaurant – much to the locals’ delight. It’s a fight for a table as is, and the dinner rush doesn’t need any more contenders. But the food at Phamish is indisputably worth braving the lines and praying for good timing.
The tables inside spill out into the courtyard, interspersed with heaters, although you hardly need them as the fiery chilli in the food will keep your mouth ablaze. Warmth also comes from classic Vietnamese crowd pleasers, including the vegetarian rice paper rolls (which arrive on your table within minutes of ordering), salt and pepper squid, and the roti with cucumber chilli, which is accompanied by a curry sauce you’ll want to eat by the spoonful. The team of experienced chefs behind Phamish know the flavour combos that keep regular diners coming back, without the need to resort to gimmicks or unneeded cross-overs. There’s a standard selection of beers and spirits, but the option to BYO alcohol, plus the share-plate style of food, keeps the meals cheap.
Although Phamish could have been transported straight off the streets of Hanoi, there’s an undeniable sense of Darlinghurst, seen in the cosmopolitan style of the black and white blocking of the menus. The lively red chopsticks pop, the neon ‘order here’ signs glows and a traditional mural brings the décor back to home base. The result is a combination of modern, stylish and authentic.
When speaking with Darlinghurst resident and Phamish lover, Annabel Melhuish, she says it’s the busy and vibrant atmosphere which keep the customers coming.
“There is so much energy in the restaurant. The flavours are bold and fresh, and it’s been consistently delicious for more than ten years.”
Phamish is conveniently located just off Oxford Street, with an array of rooftop bars and pubs nearby to finish off the night. However, a trip to Phamish is enough all on its own, and just the thing for a cooler weeknight when you’re craving a fiery feed.
Phamish Vietnamese Café
148 Palmer Street, Sydney
6.30 - 9pm Tuesday - Wednesday
11.30 – 2pm & 6 - 9.30pm Thursday – Saturday
5.30 – 9.30pm Sunday