Recent readers will have noticed my penchant for veggie banh mi. Every time we've mentioned banh mi on facebook Matt has raved about a place called Great Aunty Three in Sydney. The shop he visited was in Enmore, which wasn't really convenient for our trip, so I didn't think we'd get a chance to visit. But I handily stumbled onto a new Surry Hills branch on a quick wander around the neighbourhood and our Friday lunch plans were sorted.
It's a popular place - we turned up at 1ish and the queue was out the door. It moves pretty steadily though, so you've got to make your mind up pretty quickly. There are three kinds of veggie rice paper rolls (lemongrass tofu, vegan chicken, salad), a vegetarian noodle salad bowl and a vegan bao, plus the banh mi options.
We took one of each of the roll options - vegan chicken and vegan duck ($8 each). The rolls come with loads of coriander, big chunks of cucumber, lettuce, sprouts, carrot, a bit of chilli and, strangely, pumpkin seeds.
I ordered these mild, because I was splitting them with Cindy, so they didn't have the spicy pop of my regular Trang orders. The mock meat was good though, especially the duck (the chicken slices were a tiny bit dry). They're going for a more traditional crusty roll too, which will please the purists, but it meant that we scattered crumbs all over the hotel lobby where we scoffed these down.
At $8 a pop, these are raising the stakes a bit on Trang or Nhu Lan, but I guess you have to factor Sydney rents into the equation. They're also going for something a bit more like Roll'd in terms of aesthetics too, so it's not a ridiculous price. It's a pretty amazing world we're living in these days - mock meat banh mi are going mainstream and I couldn't be happier about it.
Let's Nom Nom!, Jan's Lifestyle, B-Kyu, lateral eating, Happy Bites, Jugernauts, Grab Your Fork, noodlies, Scoff and Quaff and Not Quite Nigella were all fans of Great Aunty Three, while ChopinandMysaucepan was less impressed.
Great Aunty Three
94 Wentworth Ave, Surry Hills
02 9281 8882
Accessibility: There's a small step up on entry. Things are super crowded inside, at least at lunchtime. There are a couple of tables with high stools. You order and pay at a high counter. We didn't visit the toilets.