I guess there is no shortage of Vietnamese restaurants in Hong Kong, but you would probably agree there aren’t many upscale ones. An Nam (安南) opened up in Causeway Bay recently, and is filling the gap of absent good quality Vietnamese restaurants in HK.
My first visit to An Nam was about month ago. We were in Causeway Bay [like always] and was trying to pick a place for dinner. I recall reading in Timeout magazine about a new Viet restaurant at Lee Gardens and decided to try our luck with no reservation. To our disbelief, we were seated immediately. Since this was a spur of a moment dining selection, I didn’t have my camera with me. So you could understand why I am reluctant to share all my dimly lit iPhone photos, but, I will try my best to describe some of the dishes we had for dinner.
- Barbecued Pork with Bun Vermicelli ($108)
- Garlic Butter Wings ($108)
- An Nam Sautedd Beef Cubes ($228)
- Stirred Fried Morning Glory ($98)
- Young Coconut Jelly ($78)
We ordered the BBQ pork with bun vermicelli as a starter, the char-grilled pork belly was tender and sweet [I highly recommend this dish]. The beef cubes were good quality Angus tenderloin, but I thought the tomatoes threw the balance of the dish off. The chicken wings had a very crispy skin and the light batter on the wings had a well-seasoned spice [again, a recommend]. The morning glory was pretty standard, so no surprises there.
I had mixed feelings about the dessert. I decided on the young coconut jelly as it seemed the least heavy [as always we fill up on the savoury dishes, and have no more room for sweets]. I enjoyed the first few bites of the jelly, as it wasn’t too sweet and had the subtleness of coconut water. But as I spooned into the bottom layer, the jelly was becoming harder to pierce into. The bottom layer had a interesting crunchy texture with pieces of coconut mixed in, but this layer lacked flavor. I thought the idea of this dessert was quite clever though. The dessert was designed so that it reminded you of the experience of drinking from a fresh coconut (the first jelly layer) and then scooping out the flesh afterwards (the bottom crunchier layer) [ok, you might think I’m blowing water now, I promise I’m not].
I want to separately mention the mocktail I had, The Lychee Smash. This drink was delicious and refreshing, I couldn’t stop sipping it. The mocktail had lychee, fresh mint, ginger ale and fresh lime. But, these mocktails come with a price tag of $65-$85 Hongkie.
The minute I walked into the restaurant, I couldn’t stop admiring the Vietnamese and French inspired decor. It is elegantly designed with a turquoise/teal theme [can you not tell I’m in love the color teal?]. The ambience was warm and all the tableware was beautifully picked to match the antique furniture. All the Vietnamese servers wore this beautiful outfit/uniform [I googled it, and I think it’s called the Áo dài]. I read somewhere that the chef is also from Vietnam as well.
We went back for lunch this weekend because I wanted to try the Pho. I am always in search for the perfect bowl of Pho in Hong Kong. For lunch we ordered:
- Viet Beef Pho ($98)
- Bun Vermicelli with Spring Rolls ($88)
- Steamed Rice Paper Roll ($88)
I would highly recommend the Pho here. The broth was well-balanced and exuded warmth, the beef was of good quality and the noodles were slippery and soft, and you could pick the noodles up in individual strands. [I’m sure we’ve all had Pho where there were some noodles that stuck together in bunches]. There were plenty fresh garnishes of bean sprouts, fresh lime, fresh basil and chili to go with the tasty bowl of noodles.
The best thing about the Bun Vermicelli were the spring rolls, they were crispy with a flavorful filling of pork, crabmeat and shrimp [I think] and most importantly was non-oily. We also ordered their signature mocktails [and of course I ordered the Lychee Smash again] and we ended the lunch with a Vietnamese Drip Coffee.
I would say my lunch experience was even better than my dinner one. But I got to say, this restaurant is pricy. The Pho cost $98 Hongkie and it was damn small. I swear for that price and size I could eat 5 equivalent bowls in Toronto [I compare to T.O because the Pho I had back home was always delicious, affordable and generous in portions].
I saw a few tables around us ordering the braised basa fish hot pot, and it looked very tempting [mental note to self: must try next time]. An Nam is definitely a restaurant I would go back to when I crave for authentic Viet food.
Lunch Total (2 persons) = $520
Dinner Total (2 persons) = $800+
Address: Lee Gardens One 4/F, Causeway Bay / HK Tel: (852) 2787 3922
*I guess I should declare we paid for this meal ourselves