Always one to try new cuisine, I finally took the chance to try Bopha Devi (27 Ballarat Street, Yarraville Ph: 9362 0941) which specializes in contemporary Cambodian/Khmer cuisine and instantly I knew I would be impressed with what was on offer.
The tight shop front sits no more than 25 people and minimizes the Asian themed décor to a minimum with only a couple of statues and bamboo in an otherwise ultra-modern setting. Diners not used to the latest fad of communal dining will find the space a little cramped but once the food arrives, all such issues disappear.
Bopha Devi delivers the unexpected for Melbourne. As the city’s first Cambodian restaurant, there are dishes with unique combinations, fresh flavours and above all, completely different to anything else. The dishes are completely mouth-watering and as you scan through the menu to decide on what dish to order, the next sounds deliciously more tempting than the last. Suffice to say, the choice is extremely hard.
The beauty behind Khmer cuisine is its combination of Chinese, Indian and French influences and that shows in each dish. And although the dishes are simple and fresh, there are layers of complexity and aromas to create something truly delicious.
The K’dom (crispy chicken and crab rolls) were an interesting combination and delicious as were the Garlic and Chive Rice Cakes. The appetizers alone were plentiful and bursting with different flavours. But the best was yet to come with the main meals. The Saramann combined coconut, lemongrass, broccolini, crushed peanuts and turmeric amongst other ingredients to create a fresh, light but ultimately tasty and filling meal. The K'nyei Stir Fry combines julienne vegetables and ginger for a warm meal that bursts with flavours and aromas.
And if those weren’t enough, the other dishes just keep getting better. Soups, salads, stir fry dishes and curries are all part of the mix. Additionally, a small dessert menu is on offer, but it’s really the savory dishes you come to experience. Best of all, it’s not overpriced.
Bopha Devi has a much larger sister restaurant at Melbourne’s Docklands precinct (27 Rakaia Way, Docklands Ph: 9600 1887). It is recommended to book in advance for both restaurants to secure a seat in what is sure to become Melbourne’s new favourite Asian cuisine. Visit Bopha Devi online to get your taste buds watering.
5 of 5