Jerry Mai’s new Melbourne venue

11 July, 2019 by
Hospitality Magazine

Pho Nom and Annam chef and owner Jerry Mai will launch a new venue on 1 August. Bia Hoi will bring the Melbourne chef’s signature modern Vietnamese food to Glen Waverly.

The community-focused suburban restaurant will celebrate Vietnamese beer culture at lunch and dinner and offer a bottomless brunch on Sundays, taking up residence at The Glen’s new outdoor dining precinct.

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The produce-led menu will showcase punchy Vietnamese flavours and a lengthy yet thoughtful selection of brews, in a lively atmosphere. The menu will reflect traditional Bia Hoi dishes — casual, simple and best eaten with a few drinks and good mates.

“There is something electric about the beer halls in Vietnam, where people kick back and have a great time, enjoying beer made just down the road,” says Mai. “The atmosphere is always light and fun, and there is a sense of community togetherness. I wanted to replicate that with Bia Hoi out at The Glen. It’s a bit of a personal full-circle for me, as I grew up just a few suburbs away. I hope the local community will use it as a place to get together over a drink and a meal and just enjoy each other’s company.”

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Snacks at Bia Hoi will include crispy pork skin, Jerry’s special salted peanuts and dried squid. Smaller dishes include a range of rice paper rolls and skewers.

Four ‘Vietnamese BBQ’ tables will be available, where guests can grill for themselves a selection of proteins including cuts of wagyu beef, shellfish and skewers. Various sauces, rice paper, herbs, salads and rice noodles will be served alongside the proteins and building  rice paper rolls will be encouraged.

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‘Steamboats’ will also be on offer. The broths, which can be shared between 2–4 people, will be accompanied by a range of additions. For example, the hot and sour canh chua steamboat broth with a base of tamarind and pineapple is served with barramundi, prawns, rice noodles and greens, while the fragrant beef based pho steamboat is accompanied by Wagyu sirloin, beef balls, rice noodles and brisket.

The drinks list will have a significant focus on beer. A rotating mix of local micro-breweries make up a large portion of beer list including Dandenong’s Kaiju and Mr Banks from Frankston. Vietnamese staples such as 333, Bia Hanoi and Siagon Special will also feature.

Small-batch producers, including Billy Button, Pinemount and Cloak & Dagger sourced close to home will make up the majority of the 20+ wine list. And Vietnamese-inspired cocktails are on the list too.

For a two hour sitting on Sundays, Bia Hoi’s bottomless brunch offers an endless supply of dishes delivered by roving trolleys paired with unlimited beer, wine, mimosas and a special spritz.

Architects EAT have brought Bia Hoi to life, building in a variety of areas to suit various needs. The design reflects Mai’s desire to contribute to The Glen’s inviting atmosphere, providing a place for locals to gather.

There’s ample dining area, as well as a large U-shaped bar and an outdoor dining area perfect for sunny afternoons. Red brick and rattan, terracotta and concrete collide, respecting the old while embrace the new. Special pieces have come from Hoi An, including lanterns for light fittings and old wooden window shutters to divide the space.

Bia Hoi will open seven days a week, from 11am to late.