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2018-03-01 1206 views
I'm always on the quest for a good banh mi. Something that reminded me of the ones I've had back in Canada. So, when a new Vietnamese places pops up, I make a note to give it a try. Why, you must wonder, do I continually subject myself to Vietnamese in Hong Kong when it's in the form of three things: (1). lackluster, (2). excellent but so expensive, (3). it's ok but it's not really Vietnamese. Because as any ex-pat can tell you. We miss that amazing simple pleasure of a heart warming bowl of ph
L'annam Banh Mi et Pho (Chinese name; 喜越) is a new place in Causeway Bay. Located right behind a street behind Times Square where most of the places are bars and dessert shops. I discovered it while walking towards Coffee Academics after work and told boyfriend about it. A few days later, we decided to give it a try. It's so new, they haven't even ripped off the red cloth to reveal the name! The restaurant isn't very big but it is spacious enough without feeling cramped. They also have a couple of tables outside for outdoor dining. I also noticed they had a lot of USB charging stations behind every table if you want to charge your phone. That was interesting. I also noticed Vietnamese people working there. YES!
Menu is not complex with a huge variety. They keep it simple and to the point with only one placard. Menu is in English and Chinese and there is no 10% service charge. They have the basics: pho, cold vermicelli and snacks. I noticed they also served three different banh mi but at the time we were there, they had run out of the vegetarian version (which was completely fine with carnivore boyfriend). I assume as they are still new, they don't offer lunch or tea sets. I asked and they have not considered this as of yet.
L'annam House Banh Mi ($68). As the name of the place had the words banh mi in it, that is what we ordered. All banh mi can be requested to be spicy or nonspicy. This is the house specialty. It was stuffed with grilled pork that reminded me of the ones used in bun cha, pickle vegetables, coriander, thick slices of cha lua (Vietnamese sausage), a thin slice of egg and pate. First things first. The bread. They used the correct bread! HALLELUJAH!!! So many places in Hong Kong use a French baguette. That is completely wrong as the baguette is more dense. A Vietnamese baguette is more light and airy. And that is what was served. It could have been a bit crispier on the outside but yes ... it was the correct bread. The grilled pork was moist and tender. I loved the addition of the egg as I generally love egg. The pate was strong and meaty and generously smeared throughout the sandwich. The pickles weren't sour enough. I think they needed more time to pickle but at least they were crunchy.
It was a decent handful.
Shredded Beef Short Rib Banh Mi ($62). For those that want a richer taste, this banh mi may be more for you. Ever had a pulled pork sandwich? Ever wonder why people love it? It's for the rich meaty sauce they mix into the slow roasted meat. We wanted it to be slightly spicy and it was acceptable for me in terms of spicy level (and I have a low tolerance to it).
The pulled short rib was mixed in a rich sauce. We also found a good serving of mayonnaise to further enhance the flavor.
Pomelo and Shrimp Salad ($68). We shared a salad appetizer. The shrimp was great. Large, firm and plump. I loved the freshness of the pomelo bits. However, I think there was a bit too much liquid so everything went a bit soggy on the bottom.
Vermicelli with Meat Skewers ($68). For some strange reason, it became unbearably hot. We were all set for pho but I said no ... it's too hot outside! So, we shared a cold vermicelli bowl. We chose the meat skewers and you can choose between chicken or beef so we chose chicken. The skewers are were moist and juicy and had a decent fragrant lemongrass scent. The noodles were al dente and fresh. The fish sauce was very chunky and hard to pour but I guess it's to show they added a lot of stuff in it. The sauce was not sour enough. I think I would have preferred it to be more sour.
Vietnamese Ice Drip Coffee ($28). I decided to try out the coffee as I needed my coffee fix of the day. The coffee was sadly lukewarm. It wasn't hot at all. This was disappointing. The coffee itself wasn't strong enough. At least for me. Mixed with the condensed milk, it was just one lukewarm sweet weak cup of joe.
Pineapple Ice ($25). Boyfriend had a pineapple ice and this was stuffed on the bottom with a syrupy pineapple jam. If you've had the pineapple tea from 一芳水果茶 (Yi Fang Fruit Tea), this is the only way I can describe it. It's just like that. A concentrated mass of pineapple jam that sweetens and flavors your entire drink when you mix it up. They also give you a good serving of it as well. This is pretty good and I'd recommend it.
A new Vietnamese place with a lot of promise. The banh mi is definitely the star. No wonder that is the name of their restaurant. Prices are reasonable. I'll be back and try out the pho next time. Or maybe just order another banh mi.