Wednesday, May 14, 2008
"Pholicious Experience" at O`Viet, Sunway Pyramid
I first developed a liking towards Vietnamese cuisine when I was studying in Sydney, Australia. However, when I came back to KL, I was dismayed to discover that there were only a couple of Vietnamese restaurants that I could find in the Klang Valley. Fortunately, since then more and more Vietnamese outlets have sprung up with the growing local appreciation of Vietnamese cuisine, notable mostly for its abundance of vegetables and absence of excessive grease.
Recently, I was invited by FoodStreet to attend a food tasting at O’Viet Restaurant & Café in Sunway Pyramid. Arriving at dinnertime, what awaits was an authentic and tantalizing palate of Vietnamese cuisine.
Beverages: (Clockwise from Top Left): 3 Colours Delight, Plum in Soda, Hot Lemongrass Ginger Tea, "Optima" Vietnamese Coffee
Starting with an array of beverages, the Plum in Soda, Lemongrass Ginger Tea and Three Colours Delight. The pairing of Plum in Soda, although odd-sounding works to tantalize the taste buds (but probably not for those who despise sour stuff).I liked the refreshing Lemongrass Ginger Tea, served hot or cold although I would recommend the former. The Three Colours Delight is a mix of green grass jelly, cendol and red beans; all blended beautifully together in this rich and creamy concoction.
We were then served a Mixed Grill Platter (RM24.90) which consists of traditional Vietnamese appetizers such as fried spring rolls, sugarcane shrimps, grilled beef and chicken with fresh veggies and comes with 4 paper rolls for you to make your own DIY summer rolls. Dipped in either the clear sweet and tangy nuoc cham sauce (an ubiquitous Vietnamese flavoring sauce) or the brown peanut sauce, they provide a tasty start to the evening.
Appetizers & Starters: (Clockwise from Top Left): Mix Grill Platter, Grilled Lemongrass Fish in Banana Leaf, Beef La Lot, Bo La Lot Platter.
The Bo La Lot (Grilled Beef in Wild Betel Leaves) (RM14.90) is another traditional Vietnamese specialty and should not be missed.
(Clockwise From Top Left): Mrs. Chong showing how to wrap your own Spring Roll, The "finished" spring roll, The Vietnamese way to savour the appetizers, A bite of the yummy Spring Roll
The Vietnamese way to eat these appetizers are to have them wrapped in a lettuce leaf with some mint leaves and marinated carrot and dipped in nuoc cham, or a special brown nutty and slightly pungent sauce with a hint of fu yue (Chinese fermented bean cube) that accompanies the La Lot. According to Mr. Chong (proprietor of O’Viet), most of their dipping sauces are self-concocted. Grilled Lemongrass Fish in Banana Leaf (RM22.90) is another popular dish in O’Viet. The fish is cooked with various herbs, vegetables and spices that the flesh has absorbed a pleasantly savory taste.
Now comes the “Pho-licious Experience” part of the night. O’Viet offers quite a wide selection of noodle/pho dishes. We managed to sample 3. First to come was the “Mieng Ga” (RM12.90), chicken in glass noodle in a rather light and delicate chicken broth tinged with herbs. The“Pho Bo Dac Biet” or O’Viet Special Mixed Beef Noodle (RM13.90) is an aromatic melange of noodles combined with pieces of beef and innards (beef fillet, brisket, tripe and beef balls). I was told that their beef-based broth which was not too heavily laced with strong spices and herbs, was slow-boiled for at least 48 hours.
"Pholicious Experience": (Clockwise from Top Left): "Mieng Ga", O'Viet Special Mixed Beef Noodle, Side Dish & Condiments for Bun Bo Hue, Bun Bo Hue (Hue-style Beef Noodle in Spicy Broth)
However, my vote goes to “Bun Bo Hue” or Hue-style Beef Noodle (RM11.90), described as beef fillet and tender brisket in mildly spicy beef soup. Although lesser known compared to Pho Bo, it was by no means inferior to it. In fact, Hue (pronounced as hu-ei) or Central Vietnamese cooking is widely described as the most unique of all and also the most distinct in taste – being much spicier and colourful than its Northern and Southern counterparts. Hue cooking is also influenced by the otherwise little-known royal Vietnamese style of cooking.
The key of Bun Bo Hue is the rich beef broth. It was bright and spicy, tangy yet slightly sweetish, and highly aromatic. The side dish of assorted vegetables was also slightly different from the usual as it also include banana flower and some pounded dried chili paste. Just chuck what you fancy from the side dish into the soup already heavily-ladened with beef, brisket, noodles, and start digging in!
Dessert: Chilled Durian Pancakes
It was to my utter delight when I saw what came next. Durian pancakes! Yes, this place serves chilled durian pancake. Fresh soy-based (non-dairy) cream and thick durian flesh encased in a thin crepe skin served chilled. A definite must for all durian lovers! But don’t worry if you do not like durian for it also comes in either cempedak or avocado filling. RM5.90 for 2 pieces. A couple of pieces that I tasted came with a slightly hardened or frozen center. Just slice it in 2 and let it warm a little before consuming.
The scrumptious meal and also the interesting explanations and fascinating tales by the lively Mr. Goh (who by the way, also owns Du Viet and La Lot Vietnamese Restaurant) finally came to an end with a cup of sweet, intense Vietnamese coffee directly imported from Vietnam. There are 4 selections available (according to your preferred intensity). I had the Optima (RM7.50) which is of medium strength and has a combination of 4 beans. Although I would have preferred it served warmer, I still enjoyed the very good cup of aromatic Vietnamese coffee.
Soothing ambience in O'Viet
Besides the dishes mentioned above, O’Viet has a pretty extensive menu that covers a rather large selection of appetizers & starters, ala carte dishes, noodles & congees as well as desserts and beverages.
Link to this article on Food Street
O’Viet Restaurant & Café (Pork-free)
G1.45 (Ground Level, Sunway Pyramid)