Ca Phe Rang
Ca Phe Rang was born out of a collaboration between two legendary chefs and best of friends Matty Matheson and Chef Rang Nguyen.
The pair have a long history with food together, Rang gave Matheson his first job out of culinary school back in 2003.
Rang grew into a mentor for Matheson, teaching him French culinary techniques when he worked under Rang at Le Select, one of the city's beloved French bistros.
Matheson says Rang taught him everything he knows about cooking, but in drill sergeant style, often giving him tough love when it came to him learning how to be a good chef.
The team at Le Select was super close and would hangout together even outside of work, which is how Matheson and Rang turned into a big brother, little brother duo.
One thing they always bonded over was Vietnamese food. In fact, Rang took Matheson for his first ever bowl of Pho and they would often grab Banh Mis together.
Fast-forward to 2016, Matheson made it as a notable chef and ends up hosting a series for Vice, it was this show where the pair go on a food tour around Rang's hometown in Vietnam.
These experiences combined with their unmatched sense of brotherhood helped them produce Ca Phe Rang, somewhere they describe as a place to feel at home while genuinely enjoying good food.
The space was once home to Birria Balam, a Mexican pop-up headed by Matheson. Now it's been morphed into a cozy Vietnamese food hub adorned with nudges to Rang's family life in Vietnam.
An alter with flowers and a burning incense takes up a small corner of the restaurant, it's a sign of honour for Rang's mother who's shown in a black and white photo on the adjacent wall.
Ca Phe Rang is the type of place you want to visit on a cold winter night, wrapped up in the sights and smells of hot Pho and comforting Banh mi buns. You can also opt to pick up your food from the street market-style window near the kitchen.
Sausage roll ($9.00) comes in four pieces and tastes the best when dipped into the peanut sauce. The fresh roll is stuffed with iceberg lettuce, shiso, a Japanese herb, mint, coriander, and Thai basil. Small pieces of sausage are wrapped inside the translucent rice paper.
For the rice noodle lovers, you're going to want to grab the Beef and Brisket Pho ($16.00). Simmered with Thai basil, onions, bean sprouts, and birds eye chilli garlic vinegar. You'll be blown away by how the meat soaks up the flavour of the soup.
You'll get a mouthful of freshness from the cucumber, cilantro and basil in the Brisket Banh Mi ($15.00). A pate is spread on the base of the bread and carrot, daikon, jalapeno and white onion are layered in between.
If you're a spice person, you will love the spicy chilli paste that glazes the bits of beef inside. Dunk the sandwich inside the pho dip for an extra $3.00.
Another take on a Vietnamese fresh roll, the Marinated Shitake Mushroom ($9.00) has a surprisingly sweet taste to it. Iceberg lettuce, shiso, mint, coriander, andTthai basil accompany this vegetarian-friendly appetizer.
The Avocado Milkshake ($8.00) is refreshing, however there's only a hint of avocado flavour in it. You'll taste more of the condensed milk inside the drink which creates its super creamy consistency.