My brother Rommel who worked in Vietnam for a couple of months was craving for authentic Vietnamese food when he got back in Manila. His search led him to this authentic hole-in-the-wall Banhmi place in Makati which was opened recently by chi Anne Le.
I was skeptical about this until I've tasted the Banhmi. Check out BON Banhmi...
P.H.A.T. PHO (short for Pretty Hot and Tempting Pho?) is the Vietnamese Resto created by Jason Hyatt of The Abaca Group in Cebu. There's not a lot of Vietnamese flavors in Cebu, and Abaca Group's Vietnamese concept is interesting with Vietnamese Chef Ahn Sy Hoang or Chef Bruce.
In contrast to the other Abaca restos, Phat Pho is quaint (with a capacity of about less than 30pax) but still hip. During peak lunch and dinner time you have to sit shoulder-to-shoulder giving up a bit of privacy just to get a taste of the latest Vietnamese cuisine to invade Cebu.
My initial impression was: it is kinda weird eating Asian cuisine at an American franchise like Pho Hoa or P.F. Chang's. We like it not because the food is wow but because it is the type of food that leaves a happy smile on your face. Also, it is something new in the Greenbelt 5 area.
Here are some tips to have a better La Petite Camille experience:
Ba Noi's is creating a buzz in the foodie community because it is probably the closest to authentic Vietnamese restaurant in Manila. It is authentic in terms of the imported ingredients used,their chef (who is Vietnamese) (it is confirmed that the pinoy chefs are the one cooking already), and the taste (which is yummy indeed). Bawai's Vietnamese Kitchen in Tagaytay is still the best -- for me, nothing can compare to their beef pho so far, but Ba Noi beats them in terms of accessibility.
In Vietnamese, "Bawai" means grandmother on the mother's side, while "Ba Noi" refers to the grandmother on the father's side. How coincidental could it be that two of the most authentic Vietnamese restaurants around are named after grandmothers?
I like Ba Noi's attention to the branding details, which include a cool brand logo, nice restaurant facade, and good menu design (net food prices are included). It also has a unique educational table top on how to truly enjoy Vietnamese food, complete with photos (see above). For example, to enjoy the Shrimp and Pomelo Salad, you have to combine the shrimp cracker (as base) with all the different ingredients on top, including the sweet chili patis.