Super Bowl

252 Victoria Street, Richmond, VIC

All Details
Super Bowl Vietnamese restaurant in Rochmond.
Among dozens of Vietnamese restaurants on Victoria Street, Super Bowl stands out from the crowd. Photo: Eddie Jim

Simone Egger

There are 31 Vietnamese restaurants on a 500-metre stretch of Victoria Street, between Hoddle and Church streets (I went restaurant-spotting). So, why choose this overrun strip to open another Vietnamese restaurant? In the words of Thai Nguyen, part-owner of Super Bowl (opened December 2012), channelling Sinatra, ''If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.'' (Although, arguably, running a restaurant in a refugee camp - which Thai's family did in Thailand in the '80s - would have its challenges, too.)

So how does a place stand apart from the crowd? First, and most obviously, is the name - America's equivalent of the grand final, as well as the super-size bowl of pho they offer. It's huge and has become something of an American-style eating competition - ''can you finish the pho?'' The American connection? There's a Super Bowl restaurant in Seattle run by family members. This Richmond outpost is a family business too, with mum, Trieu Hoang, cooking her grandmother's recipes. And this is the main reason that Super Bowl stands out from the crowd: the food.

The menu is small, with just 30 dishes; more than half are varieties of pho and bun bo hue. The pho is fragrant and bright, anchored with fresh, flat rice noodles, and topped with still-pink slices of eye of round beef. Other options include other bits of meat (well-done flank, tendon, tripe, chicken and prawn). Bun bo hue is prepared the same way as pho (beef bones simmered and skimmed for eight hours, redolent of cinnamon and star anise), but has the added zing of lemongrass and chilli powder. It has the beef slices, as well as an onion bite, and pork-mince balls. DIY add-ins are a colourful mix of shredded red and white cabbage, iceberg and mints, plus beanshoots and fresh lemon. Super - whatever the size.

Super Bowl Vietnamese restaurant in Richmond.
Varieties of pho and bun bo hue (pictured) dominate the menu. Photo: Eddie Jim

Thai reckons theirs is the only place on the street doing Ha Noi-style spring rolls - pork, vegetable and prawn wrapped in rice paper, which, when deep-fried, has a rough, crunchy texture compared with the usual springy pastry (which they also make). Wrap them up in a lettuce cup, with vermicelli and mint, before dipping in fish sauce.

No.30 is another unique Ha Noi-style dish - instead of spring rolls, make an iceberg wrap with a char-grilled pork patty (marinated in oyster sauce and five spice, and dripping juices) and grilled pork slices.

The other standout element at Super Bowl is a fresh fitout: terrazzo floor, slate features and high-backed wooden chairs, all brightened by a wall-length photo-mural - and blasted with concussive pop music.

With plans for a CBD Super Bowl later this year, ''start spreadin' the news … ''

Don't … hesitate to ask for more or less heat in your bun bo hue - they're most obliging.

Dish … bun bo hue.

Vibe … relatively ritzy, smooth operator.

Note: Cash only; merchant facilities (MC V eftpos) expected by mid-July.

Corkage: $2.50 a head.

Nina Rousseau is on leave.

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252 Victoria Street, Richmond, VIC

  • Cuisine - Vietnamese
  • Prices - Appetisers, $5-$11; noodle soups: small $8, medium $9, large $10, super bowl $17; vermicelli and rice dishes, $9.50.
  • Features - BYO
  • Cards accepted - Cash
  • Opening Hours - Daily 9am-10pm
  • Author - Simone Egger
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Reader ratings (93)

6 comments so far

  • ''If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.'' Well, not exactly. As The Age itself pointed out a couple of years ago, the general standard of Vietnamese food on Victoria Street is more cheap and cheerful than gourmet.

    The competition here is pretty much all on price, not quality. Sadly I've never been able to find the quality of the best Vietnamese restaurants (in Vietnam), here in Australia, especially the seafood. The only thing which comes close is Pho, but it would be nice if someone would break out of the cheap restraints and give us the best that Vietnam can offer

    Commenter
    Foris
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    July 10, 2013, 1:57PM
    • I partly agree with you Foris but why want same dish charged twice more? I believe the best Vietnamese dishes are already present in many restaurants. You just have to find them. There are too many restaurants from other cuisines that are over-rated and over-charged.

      Commenter
      Foodlover
      Location
      Date and time
      July 11, 2013, 5:56PM
  • I love a good pho as much as the next person but are we talking MSG FREE

    Commenter
    mattd
    Location
    fitzroy
    Date and time
    July 10, 2013, 2:54PM
  • Try Sapa Hills II on Glenferrie Rd Hawthorn. They have hanoi style spring rolls as well and everything I have tried to date has been a joy.

    Commenter
    roger
    Location
    melb
    Date and time
    July 10, 2013, 3:17PM
  • @mattd, MSG is completely fine, stop buying into the fear mongering.

    The only evidence that MSG is bad for anyone is that some people are allergic to it (~2%), which is pretty normal for any chemical or food, natural or human-synthesized.

    Commenter
    danzha
    Location
    Date and time
    July 10, 2013, 7:14PM
  • There really is an amazing spread of good restaurants along Victoria Street. This one is a great Vietnamese restaurant. If your preference is Thai then Ticha Thai is well worth a visit.

    Commenter
    Mick of Carlton
    Location
    Date and time
    July 11, 2013, 8:04AM

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