248 Palmer St
Phamish is a bit hard to find - it's tucked away down a side street - you think there's nothing down the street then suddenly you come across this little oasis of eateries hidden in a lovely little alcove off the street. Phamish is the place up in the back right corner as you walk into the oasis from Palmer Street - its not brilliantly signposted but its the most crowded place there.
First thing is to get a table. Its hard and you may have to wait a while if you haven't booked. Fortunately we had so we were seated pretty quickly. Secondly, you order by queueing up at the front counter. Its not table service - which is fine - but its a bit confusing if you're going there for the first time. When you order you also pay and get a table or order number to display.
The food choices are displayed on the boards beside and above the serving counter. Once a dish has run out (and they do) the sign for that dish is taken down. The food comes out pretty quickly. we started with the duck and prawn pancakes. They were very large - larger than we expected - and packed full of duck and prawns. They were very nice - a bit hard to eat due to their size and a bit hard to dip - but great just the same and our favourite dish of the night.
The dipping sauce for the duck and prawn pancakes was tasty - but very mild. This probably summed up most of the dipping sauces for the night - they looked great but were very mild.
The duck and prawn pancakes come in serves of two, three or four and are $7.00 each.
The crispy spring rolls were described as deep fried Vietnamese spring rolls with ground chicken, vermicelli and wood-ear funghi served with nuoc cham sauce. These were nice but again very mild in flavour. The dipping sauce was again also mild. They come in a serving of six and they cost $12.00.
We finished with soft shell crab. This was described on the menu board as crab lightly battered and tossed in salt and pepper, garlic and chilli, lemongrass and shallots. We expected a lot more from this dish. The crab was cooked perfectly. It was light and delicate. Sadly though we both agreed that the whole dish lacked flavour.
Despite the wide range of ingredients that were added to this dish it just didn't have anything memorable in terms of flavour. It wasn't bad, just a bit bland. These really weren't subtle flavours - they just didn't seem to be there at all.
The soft shell crab was pleasant, and the quantity was decent, but not memorable. It cost $19.50.
We also ordered one serving of rice to share. It was a decent sized serving and only cost $3.00.
Corkage is also $3.00 per person which is possibly a surprise considering you serve yourself and you get vegemite jars for your wine. Nevertheless, Phamish is decent value in terms of quantities and prices.
All in all Phamish was nice but not something we'd rave about. The service was good, the food was very fresh and arrived quickly and there were decent servings. It wasn't that anything was bad - far from it - it just lacked a bit of flavour - even subtle flavour.