Looking for a Vietnamese restaurant in the Philippines where you can have real tasty pho? Annam Noodle Bar in Eastwood is the move. Inspired by old-world recipes and cooking methods from Northern, Central, and Southern Vietnam, Annam Noodle Bar’s menu boasts iconic and authentic Vietnamese street food favorites that can be relished at any time of the day. The refreshing flavors, varied textures, and vibrant colors add a touch of the west to these Vietnamese dishes.
Known as “NamNam Noodle Bar” in Singapore, Annam Noodle Bar now has been repackaged with a modern twist. This restaurant located at the ground floor of 1880 Building in Eastwood opened last July 6, 2016 and I was one of the first who was invited to try out their dishes. 🙂 Whether you’re team pho, team banh mi, or both, it’s hands down a delicious meal you can get for PhP 500/head or less. Plus, it’s time to get healthier. Annam Noodle Bar takes pride in the fact that 95% of their menu does not contain Monosodium Glutamate (MSG).
Review of Annam Noodle Bar (Eastwood, Libis, Quezon City)
Bright lights, nicely spaced out table settings, and wooden accents set the cozy mood. Every element from the chic industrial interior, tightly arranged communal seating to the menu is carefully curated to evoke the nostalgic street setting in Vietnam. Overall ambiance provides a sense of retreat from the hustle and bustle of Eastwood’s vibrant streets, so guests can come and enjoy a lunch break from the office or a premium dinner with friends.
Annam Noodle Bar applies a quick-service concept and the way things work here are pretty simple: take a seat at either one of the long communal tables, by the counter, or the regular tables at the back. The staff hands you the menu and the order list where you will check the items you’re getting, much like in a shabu-shabu restaurant where you tick all the ingredients you want for your food. Wait for the food shortly and enjoy. Service was welcoming, helpful, and neat.
The Crispy Imperial Rolls (PhP 200) got the ideal crumb, chew and crunch. The rolls were not too greasy but juicy and hearty enough to be qualified as a solid appetizer at Annam. Covered with crispy exterior, the meaty fillings tasted great, especially with the sweet and sour dipping sauce.
Vietnamese sandwiches are a foodstuff you can eat even on the go. A product of French colonial Vietnam, the sandwich combines the basic French baguette with Vietnamese take on common French cold cuts or roasted meats. Annam Noodle Bar’s banh mi varieties look interesting.
For fans of heat, banh mi made of chili-lemongrass chicken, egg omelette, chicken floss (PhP 230) and the one filled with fried catfish with spices (PhP 230) are recommended. Both had a smear of a sweet, buttery, mayonnaise-like spread, and plenty of crisp vegetables. These are insanely tasty combinations of contrasting textures and flavors, but the overall impression, as with much Vietnamese food, is of lightness and freshness.
Served with powerful, pungent condiments to accompany the aromatic broth, the star of the night must be the Pho Australian Wagyu Beef Sliced (PhP 550). The rich, crystal clear, intensely aromatic soup was almost tantalizing. Tastes include both sweet and salty; and the feel, cooling and warming. As with other Asian cuisines, it’s all about balance—yin and yang, if you may. There’s also a handful of fresh herbs and spring onions added to the bowl. Chewy and oozy, moist and tender, the wagyu beef was excellent. Chili sauce and fish sauce are made available on the table for those who like a jolt of extra flavor to their pho.
Out of all the drinks on the menu, the Lemongrass-Ginger Iced Tea (PhP 150) is the particular standout. It was love at first sip! The earthy aroma of the lemongrass and the heat from the ginger made up an exotic taste that is pleasing and delightful.
Plenty of dessert choices looked tempting but I my eyes were all for the Chilled Dried Longan, Lotus Seeds, Water Chestnut, Seaweed Dessert (PhP 180) because I thought it’s Vietnam’s version of the Filipino halo-halo. 🙂 Food for the Viet is medicine, and most of their dishes include desserts that draw natural ingredients such as herbs, fruits, vegetables, beans and seaweed together with nutrition in mind. Lotus seeds brought a nutty texture; and the finely sliced seaweed, an interesting and refreshing touch of soft gelatin. Longans are like lychees but more succulent in taste.
Annam Noodles also serves the famous Viet coffee and sells it per box with 22 sachets. Diners who are curious about the taste of Viet coffee should try it. Brewed using top-grade robusta coffee beans that are selected to ensure quality and flavor, you can make your own full-bodied cup of aromatic coffee at home any time, any day. Adding sweetened condensed milk may enhance the taste as it’s the perfect counterbalance for the incredibly strong dark-roasted coffee.
Price for Value:
Prices are distinctively more expensive than your regular hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese food joint. I’d say it’s a little more top end of the “cheap-eat” market, but you can be rest assured that food and service are great in this nice space. As the adage goes, you get what you pay for, and you are certainly paying for darn good pho. If you haven’t tried Vietnamese cuisine before, this is the perfect chance to start with the appreciation. Try banh mi and pho. They’re pretty good stuff! 🙂