Good Days has opened so unobtrusively next to the Cornish Arms that I was at risk of overlooking it. Luckily for me, several friends tagged me into their Broadsheet coverage so I was soon in the know. I even managed to catch a cold, all the better to assess the restorative properties of their vegan pho.
The menu and venue are both small but carefully curated - there are rice paper rolls, pho, noodle salad and chicken rice, with well-marked vegan options on the former three. No hints for coeliacs; I'm hopeful the rice paper rolls might suit.
On my first visit I tried the mushroom pho ($15). The overall effect was very gentle, from the subtly flavoured broth to the lightly braised and grilled mushrooms, bean sprouts and herbs (there was chilli and a lemon wedge on hand for a bit of bite). My favourite part was the thick, slippery noodles.
I was also delighted to order and pour my own Vietnamese iced coffee ($4.50, pictured back). It wasn't as bitter as I've encountered elsewhere.
I returned the following day for the tofu & mushroom noodle salad ($13) and an iced jasmine tea ($2.50). The salad was a huge bowl with lots of trimmings - the tofu & mushrooms were inside the fried spring rolls, there were spinach and iceberg lettuce leaves, cucumber, herbs, peanuts, fried shallots, and a lovely carrot and daikon pickle that I made sure to spread through the thinner vermicelli rice noodles. The garnishing cassava cracker was fun, too.
The staff welcomed me warmly when I entered, which really put this lone diner at ease. I snuck up to fetch my own missing spoon on my first visit, went without a napkin and couldn't attract a water refill, but everything was running much more smoothly just one day later. I think this eatery will only get better because it's early days for Good Days, after all.
165 Sydney Rd, Brunswick
Accessibility: Entry includes a shallow ramp and green push-button to open the door from the inside. There is a mix of high and low furniture and all chairs have low backs. Furniture is densely packed with a clear corridor through the middle. I ordered at the table and paid at a low counter. I didn't visit the toilets.