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.
Manila has a lot of good restaurants and you need to discover them. I admit, it is sometimes easy to go to the many Jollibee and Mcdonald's out there, specially when these are the restaurants that have a good name recall from the kids. Cha Gio (pronounced as Cha-yo) vietnamese restaurant is one of those special quaint hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Malate. Cha Gio refers to the popular Vietnamese spring rolls. It opened in 2003, in its original store located near the Diamond hotel, along J. Quintos St. Carlos Celdran was the one who introduced me to its delicious pho-noodle dishes and I made a mental note to blog about Cha Gio.
They tried to project an aura that they are a cafe rather than the noodle house so the pho dishes assortment were toned down. But they cannot readily compete with the nice figaro cafe along that street, so I would have thought that they should market themselves as an authentic vietnamese noodle house instead. This is where you can try a vietnamese coffee called ca phe su which is a Vietnamese brewed coffee dripped from a perculator mixed with condensed milk. They carry a vietnamese brand of coffee called, Trung Nguyen. Have anyone tried this coffee?