22nd September 2016
132 Russell St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Has anyone ever heard of the term Fob Rolls? When I first heard this alternative name for the Vietnamese banh mi, I honestly felt as if someone was going to come along and scrub my mouth out with soap for saying it. But turns out the term is so ubiquitous that there’s even a banh mi restaurant named after it. So, whatever – as long as I get my sandwich (and if you ask me, the banh mi/fob roll is the best cold sandwich in existence), I’m happy.
Go into any suburb with a decent Asian population, and there will likely be a Vietnamese bakery making these up to order. The CBD dwellers are less fortunate, at least until the likes of Ba’get came along a couple years back. In the true spirit of Melbourne’s ever-refining foodie scene, Ba’get takes the standard take-away chain and upgrades it with authentic flavours and quality ingredients. But how does this compare to the other Vietnamese restaurants around town? Let’s see…
I couldn’t go past the Classic Meat Banh Mi ($9), and this one was good enough to rival the Vietnamese family-run bakeries. The crusty baguette was stuffed with 3 types of ham, flavoursome pickled carrots, as well as the usual veggies and herbs. The only thing I would change is to stick some more pate in there, but I will admit to being a big pate fan, and the sandwich was plenty flavoursome just the way it was.
But it’s not just baguettes at Ba’get; they also have the popular Vietnamese dishes of bun cha and com tam, served with your choice of protein. I decided on the Grilled Pork Vermicelli Bowl ($12), served with fish sauce (as opposed to soy sauce or hoisin, which were the other ones on offer).
This was once again as good as promised; the vermicelli was topped with crisp veggies and generous amounts of grilled pork, which were still tender and flavoursome, despite being a little dry at the end of the day. I loved the addition of fried scallions, which gave a caramelised sweetness to the noodles, but I would’ve loved a more liberal hand with the herbs. All in all, it was a solid dish that hit all the right notes.
Despite being a fast food chain for all intents and purposes, I was impressed by the quality of the food at Ba’get, which was similar to what you can expect to find at any standard Vietnamese restaurant. I’ll admit the banh mi is quite a bit pricier, even compared to their CBD counterparts, but the trade-off is fair wages for their staff, so there’s not all that much to complain about really. Plus, how can you say no to a well-made fob roll?
Rating: 12.5/20 – all hail the fob roll!
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.
Sweet and Sour Fork dined as a guest of Ba’get.