Mama Tz on Unley Road is fast becoming a local favourite, establishing regular customers despite only being opened for two weeks. With the passion for food and the yearning for change, owners Tia Pham and Hai Nguyen established an eatery with the sole purpose to feed you like they would feed their family and friends.
Tia Pham can always be found in the kitchen. She is that one friend we all have that gets beyond excited and relishes on watching you take that first mouthful of her cooking. “My friends would say What is Mama T cooking today? or we are going to Mama Tz” Tia said. That is how Mama Tz (pronounced Mama Tees) came about.
Wanting to represent their Vietnamese heritage as well as envisioning a relaxing and casually fun space, Tia and Hai had installed a couple of green walls with neon signs. One displaying, ‘Hello Beautiful’ and the other “Mot, Hai, Ba, Dzo!” which translates to One, Two, Three, Cheers! There is also an al fresco dining option down the back for all to enjoy. If you are in a hurry and don’t want to dine in, Tia and Hai have incorporated a takeaway area connected next door for all your lunch needs on the go.
Mama Tz lunch menu is inspired by what Tia and Hai would usually cook at home – predominantly Vietnamese food and a few Thai and Korean dishes. It doesn’t just stop there, Tia is happy to adapt to your tastebuds and create bespoke dishes just for you.
The Crispy Vegan Dumplings held true to its name giving you that satisfying audible noise with your first bite. Followed by the soft and pillowy filling which consist of mushroom, carrots, tofu, ginger, onion and cabbage exploded with flavour. The taste is enhanced with their homemade vegan peanut sauce. A lovely combination to please those tastebuds.
A good Spring Roll should be light and crispy, not oily. The filling should be seasoned well and you are able to taste the different ingredients used. Mama Tz have ticked all the boxes. Served with sweet chilli sauce, the Chicken Spring Rolls are delicious. A solid dish anyone would enjoy.
Mama Tz have included Crispy Chicken Corn Wontons on the menu. These little golden pouches of chicken filling are tender and juicy but still crunchy on the outside. It is served with delicious sweet chilli sauce on the side. A simple but a very moreish dish.
Flavoured with lemongrass as one of the main ingredients, the Chicken Satay really embodies Vietnamese cooking. This dish does not come with peanut sauce as you would typically find at other eateries and it doesn’t need it. Served as is, the chicken is flavourful and tender leaving you wanting more.
Next are the Bao Wows. These are steamed bao buns with shredded iceberg lettuce with your choice of 3 fillings. First up we have Porky – crispy pork crackling, hoisin sauce, pickles and peanuts. The pork was cooked to perfection with the crunch of the crackling we all look forward to. The saltiness of the pork was balanced out perfectly with the sweetness of the hoisin sauce and tang of the pickles. If you aren’t a fan of pork, there is Chicky – tender and moist sweet ‘n’ spicy panko crumb chicken with sesame sauce. Lastly, you have Tofu – fried tofu flavoured with pickled carrots and peanut sauce.
The Vietnamese Mama Wings Rice Set comes with crispy chicken wingettes. It is deep fried and dressed with a perfectly balanced Vietnamese fish sauce dressing. Mama Tz have created this dish with more of a Korean twist, serving it with a generous portion of potato salad and rice.
The Vietnamese Sunrise Banh Mi is a Mama Tz signature Banh Mi with marinated minute steak, fried eggs, carrots, radish, chilli, spring onion and coriander. This is one loaded bread roll. The minute steak is soft and juicy leaving you with an umami taste and the eggs are cooked sunny side up- be prepared to have some egg yolk drip everywhere!
Mama Tz Combination Broken Rice ‘Com Tam Dac Biet’ is the quintessential Vietnamese dish. Served with a generous amount of rice, charred grilled pork cutlet, thinly shredded pork skin, steamed egg meat loaf, fried egg and of course Vietnamese fish sauce. You won’t be leaving hungry when you order this dish.
The Vietnamese Sunrise Sizzle Steak “Bo Ne” is Mama Tz most popular dish. It is marinated minute steak on a sizzling hot plate with sunny side up fried eggs served with salad and a bread roll. The best way to eat this dish is to eat everything together. Dip the bread roll into the runny yolk, have it with a bite of steak and eggs together.
For dessert, there is Mama’s Ka-Rem. This is their signature fried ice cream parcel, topped with caramel sauce, strawberries and toasted coconut. A bit of texture from the crispiness of the pastry, the sweet and savoury flavour from the caramel sauce and the gently tangy strawberries balanced this dish out perfectly. The best way to end your meal with a delicious and beautifully presented dessert.
Mama Tz is open for lunch Monday- Friday 10:30am–3:00pm, Dinner Wednesday–Thursday 5.30pm- 9pm and Friday–Saturday 5:30p –10:00pm. Tia and Hai want to share their passion for food and cooking through Mama Tz in a casual and relaxed setting. They want people to feel comfortable without feeling the need to dress up to go out for lunch and dinner. Be sure to give them a visit and let Mama Tz feed you.
Words by Dao Doan from The Dining Chair
WHERE: 66 Unley Rd, Unley