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Vietnamese restaurant Phònatic is one of those places which lead me to believe that Adelaide might be finally growing up, perhaps even leading the rest of Australia towards the future of lifestyle and culture. On Tuesday night, they opened their doors to invited media and special guests, celebrating their recent opening and creating an opportunity to do what they do best; serving quality food in a quality environment with quality people. The hilarious, welcoming staff and the absolutely incredible food at Phònatic certainly managed to fulfill the promise of a good feed, as well as exceeding countless other expectations.

The whole experience was an absolute joy; the atmosphere was vibrant, young and full of energy and the staff were passionate and eager to make us feel at home as we ate and enjoyed the experience of Adelaide’s own little slice of Vietnam. What struck me the most was the intricate and deliberate detail that had gone into the architectural and interior design of Phònatic. Contrasting textures of exposed brick, wood, concrete and metal created a style that demanded interest and oozed character from each corner. Strewn across the walls lie personal stories of Vietnamese life, painted onto the different surfaces and illuminated by light fittings made of recycled fans and bicycle tyres.


The spacious building allows for different areas to have been created to suit all sorts of people and purposes; a bar, an outside area, a restaurant and a newly designed and constructed club situated just up the stairs. Walking through what felt like a cultural combination of Melbourne and Vietnam, I couldn’t help myself from questioning whether something that looked so good could taste so good as well!


Salty soft shelled crab, crispy cold rolls and satay chicken was served, each dish producing their own round of praise and exclamations. The head chef made a special point to share the passion of his tea with us, and we poured cups of tea from beautifully crafted pots as others stood around, snacking on soft shelled crab and sipping on whatever they desired. Honestly, this place is far too impressive, and far too intricate to explain in words. The team behind the menu and design have done an amazing job at creating a place in which extremely tasty and healthy food can be enjoyed in a beautiful, cultural and interesting setting.


Written by;

Isobel Marshall