Co Ba

Howard Chen
23rd Sep 2023

If you've spent as much time in Marrickville as I have, you'd know the 300 metre strip on Illawarra Road between Marrickville Road and Petersham Road serves some of the most accessible Vietnamese cuisine in Sydney. In such a small area, rather than every restaurant serving up the same dishes, nearly every restaurant has a signature dish that you'd struggle to find done better elsewhere. 

Want a pork roll? There's the famous queue at Marrickville Pork Roll. How about bun cha? Say hello to VN Street Foods. Feel like sticky rice? Alex N Rolls has you covered. What about banh cuon? Banh Cuon Ba Oanh will satiate you, and so forth. Making a return to the block is Co Ba, who have an outpost in Cabramatta and used to reside where Pho Viet Xua 1919 is (known for northern style pho) and they specialise in Bo Ne.

Bo Ne is a steak and eggs dish that stands for "Dodging Beef," since you'll want to dodge the grease from the sizzling hot plate. It takes influence from America and France but it is decidedly Vietnamese. It comes with sunny side fried eggs, onions, flank steak, pate, cheese, fries, and a baguette on the side. I ordered this and some other dishes:

$24 - Bo Ne Dac Biet - Extra cheese and extra sausage

$20 - Xoi Thit Kho Co Ba - Braised pork sticky rice

$9 - Banh mi que - Mini baguette with pate

The Bo Ne is the best dish here by far, it comes sizzling hot and the beef is easy to cut and flavoursome. It's fun to dip the baguette to sop up the juices as well, but watch out for your fingers. Along with the fries it would make for a great hangover meal. The pate and cheese are not great, I probably wouldn't get extra next time.

As for the other two dishes, they are unfortunately completely forgettable. They're both a bit bland, and the texture isn't great on either of them. I think the menu here is too large to allow for great quality control on every single item. The Bo Ne is still worth trying if you've never had it before though. Add this to the list of Vietnamese signature dish restaurants on Illawarra Road.