Nottingham is becoming our go-to city when it comes to Vietnamese cuisine. Having tested out Cafe Coco Tang previously and having our minds blown, we headed for a small cafe on George Street named Bun Mii.
Located down a small side street in the shadow of The Victoria Centre, Bun Mii Cafe stops you in dead in your tracks with the enticing aromas coming from within. On a beautiful sunny day, this was exactly the kind of food that we were craving.
We arrived just after opening time at 11am. A good move given that the cafe only seats around 20-30 people. There are a handful of bar stool seats in the window area with a main seating area in the back featuring a whole range of furniture and tables.
The decor really makes you feel that you could well be in Vietnam. The sunroof with the bars across, the rough walls and the oriental artwork take you right out of Nottingham. Each table also has condiments such as hoisin sauce, sriracha sauce and garlic vinegar. Fish sauce is also available on request.
Bun Mii Cafe’s menu is short and sweet. You can choose from Pho, Bun Thit Nuong, Banh Mi and Spring Rolls for food options. Drinks come in the form of coffees, teas, a selection of soft drinks and water.
The reviews had hinted at this cafe’s authenticity when it comes to the real food that you find in Vietnam. Therefore, I had to go for the Pho. There is a choice of beef, chicken or tofu – I opted for beef.
We also went ahead and ordered a portion of Bun Thit Nuong – a dish of BBQ pork, rice noodles and pickled vegetables. The dish is also available with the option of chicken or tofu instead of pork. It’s also worth noting that the cafe only accept payment by cash.
Rumours circulating claimed that the Banh Mi here was one of the best outside of Saigon. This was swiftly added to the order along with a cold Vietnamese Coffee and a bottle of water. The grand total? £22 exactly.
The service was both swift and friendly with a relaxed vibe around the cafe. I would advise getting here early as within 10 minutes of our arrival, most of the seats were taken. With the smells coming from the kitchen it was easy to see why.
Vietnamese Coffee is something that has been on my list to try for a while now. Unlike regular coffee, this is a strong, bitter brew. Often served with sweet condensed milk to balance out the flavour. Having the cold version of this with plenty of ice was just the job on a hot day. Delicious and refreshing.
First to arrive was the Bun Thit Nuong, closely followed by a steaming bowl of Pho. The rice noodles were beautifully coated in a combination of fish sauce, chilli and garlic. The grilled pork on top was smokey, sticky and juicy. A symphony of flavour all brought together by the fragrant herbs.
The Pho in appearance was a lot clearer than the broth at Pho, Leicester. Herbs were already added into the soup with paper thin slices of beef interlocking with the rice stick noodles. The aroma coming off this bowl had me salivating.
With the soup, you are presented with a small plate and a wedge of lemon. The acidity from the lemon along with the garlic vinegar really wake the Pho up and bring the flavours alive. Adding a pool of hoisin and sriracha to the small plate is also a good idea.
Not quite at samurai level with my chopstick skills yet, the rice stick noodles were a slippery adversary. Eventually, I found a system that worked using the chopsticks to place the noodles onto a spoon, then adding a smear of the hoisin and sriracha. This produced a taste sensation. I highly recommend this method.
This bowl of Pho was never ending, just when you thought that all the noodles have disappeared, more seemed to surface. A timely interruption was the arrival of the most famous sandwich in Vietnam – The Banh Mi.
Hot and fresh in a crusty baguette, Banh Mi is a sandwich comprised of, in this case, BBQ pork, pickled cucumber and carrot, liver pate, mayonnaise, coriander and chilli sauce. I have a ticket to go to Saigon at the end of the year, even if I didn’t, i’d buy one anyway just to have this sandwich around the clock.
A combination of flavours that just ticks every single flavour profile can be found in this baguette. Sweet BBQ pork, creamy pate and mayonnaise, tingly chilli sauce and sour pickles – it’s just the best. Many have claimed that this is the most authentic version amongst the local competition, I’d have to agree based on this evidence.
The cafe attracts a good crowd. Any establishment serving Vietnamese cuisine that attracts a crowd of Asian diners has to be doing something right. In similarity to Cafe Coco Tang, it is a place where you can chill out, unwind and experience a real taste of the real Vietnam.
Opening Times: Monday – Saturday 1100-1800 (closed Tuesday), Sunday 1100-1700
Nearest Train Station: Nottingham