220 Smith St, Collingwood
I thought that Nguyen Hot Bread was the best in Melbourne. But then I went back to N.Lee in Collingwood.
N. Lee bakery has built up the popularity and reputation it has because it is so awesome. You would be hard-pressed to find a single customer who wasn’t impressed by their visit here. N. Lee attracts a diverse range of banh mi consumers, both locals and banh mi enthusiasts travelling through Collingwood. When you walk through the glass opening you can get a sense of their success. The interior is super clean with a modern design and the many staff handling the busy crowds are really friendly and helpful.
There is a huge amount of ingredients to fill your roll, but I strongly recommend the grilled pork. Usually at bakeries that serve hot pork banh mi, the meat is kept warm in a bain-marie, however, at N. Lee it is taken from the deli fridge and lightly grilled in a pan. This does mean it takes substantially longer (not to mention the wait to be served) than other bakeries, but the beneficial method of preparing makes the extra time absolutely worth it. Complimenting this is the salad and dressing. The amount of lettuce and carrot is perfectly balanced and the dressing works in pure harmony with the meat – not overpowering but not too light on. Lastly there is the bread roll, not completely torpedo shaped, but so crunchy, fresh and warm, I do not care (note: banh mi in Paris is served in long baguettes). I was terribly in love with my lunch and when I finished I clung onto the bag and licked the juices and any fallen bits of goodness off the paper in the public eye. The beautiful taste that lingered in my mouth comforted me all the way home.