I hate it that I’m easy to bribe. RESTAURANT YOU HAVE NEVER TRIED BEFORE seems to be the magic word. Thus when a friend told me that we’ll be trying this restaurant I haven’t tried before (or maybe I did but it has been years ago and my tummy memory failed me), I begged my mom to allow me to go (yes, I still ask my mom for permission). But, the plan to dine in a Japanese restaurant became… a Vietnamese dinner.
The inner nerd in me usually prevent me from socializing at night thus I lead a home-work-home life (or the level up version home-work-corporate event-home life). But whenever people invite me to try out new restaurants, I AM ALWAYS GAME (as long as it’s near).
Thus, one Thursday night, we went to Makati, near Greenbelt 2 and walked along the dark streets of Legaspi Village. Some of our friends were already waiting inside Вà Nôi’s, a hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese restaurant located at Greenbelt Mansion.
We were greeted by homey Asian interiors and yellow lighting that made it seem like we were in the set of some Asian drama. The place was quite small and could accommodate perhaps max of 40 people.
It took us quite a long time before deciding what to order. Sticking to family style dining, we ordered the following: Pho Bo (PHP255), Bo Lu Lac (PHP340), Ga Ro Ti (PHP240), Ca Tre Chien Gion Mam Gung (PHP220) Thit Heo Kho Trung (PHP260), Gol Cuon (PHP200) and Cai Thia Xao Dau Hao (PHP115).
The Pho Bo (beef noodles) was quite good. You could definitely taste the beef, herbs and spices (and that hint of citrusy minty taste that screams Vietnamese food). If only they served it a bit warmer, it would have been one superb dish.
The Bo Lu Lac, tagged as the house favorite stir-fried spiced beef served with fried basil, stole my foodie heart. I loved how savory and well seasoned it was. At first, I was scared by the word “spiced” as I thought that it was spicy (doi!). It was so succulent and divine! I didn’t hesitate getting the shame piece (the last piece of meat on the plate). It was love at first bite!
The Ga Ro Ti (chicken cooked in caramel sauce and coconut juice) was not as sweet as I thought it was. It had a hint of sweetness from the caramel but I couldn’t taste the coconut juice at all. Perhaps the caramel was too strong? Nonetheless, it was quite good as the chicken was well cooked.
As for the *inhale* Ca Tre Chien Gion Mam Gung (deep fried catfish served with salad greens and Nuoc Cham sauce) *whew*, it was pretty dry. Well, it’s a given that it was fried and all but it was quite bland. It made me miss Simply Thai’s Catfish Salad.
The Thit Heo Kho Trung (pork and boiled egg simmered in coconut juice) was quite delightful. It was my second favorite that night. The sweet and savory taste was very much enjoyable. It was like the Vietnamese take on the Filipino adobo. But what I loved the most about this dish was that the pork was really tender. No need to exert extra effort to slice, bite or even chew. It was that soft.
Now for the Cai Thia Xao Dau Hao (sautéed Bokchoy in oyster sauce)…
I’d love to visit this place again and get two orders of the oh-so-good Bo Lu Lac all for myself. Gluttony? I think not.
Вà Nôi’s is located at 106 Ground Floor Greenbelt Mansion, Perea St., Legaspi Village, Makati. For reservation or inquiries, contact them at 893-7359.