REVIEW: MasterChef’s Jenny Lam’s Phat Lon dishes taste with a hint of playfulness

Phat Lon is a family affair.

Owned by former MasterChef Australia contestant and author Jenny Lam, the new Vietnamese tapas joint was inspired and supported by its close-knit family.

REVIEW: MasterChef's Jenny Lam's Phat Lon dishes taste with a hint of playfulness

So it felt appropriate to take my parents for my first experience on a day that was no less than their 38th wedding anniversary.

I was excited to try Phat Lon, Lam’s first venture Bunn Mee is a takeout lunch favorite, and the bun chay noodle salad is generous enough for a delicious lunch and afternoon snack.

And after hearing great things about her latest venture, expectations were running high.

Camera icon Phat Lon. Credit: John Koh/The West Australian

Phat Lon came in on a dark and rainy night from the parking lot and was like a mirage, bright and bustling with vibrant interiors and atmosphere.

The menu, designed for sharing, features traditional street food with a modern twist. You will be given a pen and paper to tick off the desired dishes. It’s also BYO at the moment, so don’t do like we did and rush through the rain to grab a bottle of wine.

Camera Icon Grilled corn ribs with shallot oil. Credit: Jade Jurewicz

The food was everything I’d heard or read about, packed with layers of flavor, lots of chili and spices, and everything had a great char that made the dishes even more elevated.

We loved the playfulness of the beef wrapped in betel leaf with pineapple-chili-shrimp sauce ($25), which our waiter said should be paired with the bahn hoi, steamed vermicelli rice cakes ($8). We unwrapped the bahn hoi and placed the individual betel leaf and beef inside for a delightful gift, especially when dipped in the sauce with a good amount of fishy funk tinge.

Camera Icon Grilled octopus with pickled cucumber and chili sesame oil. Credit: Jade Jurewicz

The beef salad sounded simple enough – beef salad with chili bean paste, red onion, paddy spice, and chili ($26) – but was layered with sweet and fresh flavors and a good punch of chili; you could drink the juices at the bottom.

For starters, the Grilled Corn Ribs With Shallot Oil ($10) had the nostalgic sweetness of childhood corn on the cob, with a grown-up combination of smoky cabbage and light oil.

Camera Icon Pork rolls, pickled vegetables, and nuoc mam dressing. Credit: Jade Jurewicz

The Pork Spring Rolls, Pickled Vegetables, and Nuoc Mam Dressing ($10) were good but didn’t impress my dad, who may have eaten every spring roll he’s seen on a menu around the world.

Grilled octopus certainly impressed, though, as with all proteins, it was well cooked, and nothing felt too heavy with the addition of herbs or pickled vegetables.

If we go back, and we certainly will, the only thing we would do differently is ask the steamed rice to come out earlier to soak up all the delicious sauces rather than arrive at the end of the meal to combine with the green beans.

Phat Lon

Address: 106 Oxford St, Leederville

The verdict: A fun BYO joint with a welcoming and buzzing atmosphere would be perfect for a group of hungry friends. Food is fresh and packed with flavor.

Rating: 8/10

Lori J. Kile
I love to write and create. I love photography, design, travel and art. I am a full time freelance writer and photographer.I am very excited to be creating new content and opportunities for my readers.