September 17, 2016

Ăn Viet @ The Gardens Mall, Mid Valley

Eat Viet for a Worthy Cause!

Vietnamese cuisine has recently started to sprout everywhere on our shores and I can’t say I am complaining. I adore the cuisine. Love the bold and robust flavours of Vietnamese cuisine that also always gets a vibrant punch of freshness from its usage of raw herbs and vegetables.

There’s one Vietnamese restaurant that has been rocking up authentic Vietnamese dishes in the heavily packed The Garden Mall at Mid Valley. Ăn Viet, which translate to Eat Viet, is not just serving up scrumptious Vietnamese dishes but also joining in the global movement to create awareness of minimizing global food wastage.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, a staggering 1/3 of the food prepared for human consumption globally goes to waste! That’s just a shame. When growing, my parent always made sure I finish the food on my plate, every bit down to the last grain of rice. They have always reiterated that I finish my food, at least what is on my plate and so today, I really dislike wasting food. It’s hard to know that while we have a lot of food available here, the other side of some countries are literally starving. And there’s also all the wastage when our earth is already having issues in shortages of ingredients from land and sea.

Ăn Viet offer diners’ choices of the number of gram of rice (120g, 160g, 200g) or noodles (80g, 120g, 160, 200g) they can eat with no difference in price. What a great idea as this would definitely encourage diners to only order what they can finish and avoid food wastage.

Another worthy cause in addition to minimizing food wastage, Ăn Viet will set aside RM.10 for KOTO, a social enterprise in Vietnam that helps disadvantaged youths to gain access to holistic and vocational skill development opportunities.

The ambiance at Ăn Viet has a warm and comfortable. Lots of wood tones contrasted with grey slate, giving the whole place a nice edgy and modern touch. There’s also a bar cum open kitchen where one can catch some kitchen actions too. By the bar, there is a row of Vietnamese fish sauce which is available for purchase. Ăn Viet use this particular brand for its rich and umami flavours in all their dishes.

Helming the kitchen is Chef Nguyen Kim Tuyen who hails from Vinh Phuc, located about an hour away from Hanoi. Having garnered a solid list of certificates and experience in various restaurants all over Vietnam, Chef Tuyen also has experience as Chef Consultant in the set-up of few Vietnamese kitchens in various exclusive restaurants and hotels. Chef Tuyen’s menu is filled with scrumptious Vietnamese dishes that are suited to our Malaysian palates so one can expect dishes like Pho, Vietnamese Spring Roll, Bun Cha, Grilled Lemongrass Chicken and more.

First up, any Vietnamese meal should be accompanied by their renowned Vietnamese Drip Coffee. Enjoy the Ca Phe Sua Nong which is warm or Ca Phe Sua Da which is iced that packs quite a caffeine punch. Another house beverage to enjoy is the Xa Gung (RM7.90), a house brewed lemongrass and ginger drink. This one is a great tummy warmer. There also a refreshing Lime Mint Tea.

A house specialty to try is the unique Ca Phe Trung (RM8.90), hot Vietnamese drip coffee served with whisked egg yolk. The egg foam gave the coffee a luscious richness as well as a creamier note. I really enjoyed my Ca Phe Sua Da as it was deliciously pack with hits of strong coffee notes and was smooth and creamy too.

Dinner commenced with Goi Cuon (RM8.90), a classic Vietnamese fresh spring roll served with a dipping sauce made with that 100% fish sauce we saw earlier on the bar. The spring roll had lots of fresh and crunchy flavours and textures from its poached tiger prawns, vermicelli, carrots, cucumber, lettuce and herbs. A healthy appetizer that is light and easy to enjoy…

Nom Hoa Chuoi (RM13.90) or Banana Blossom Salad, a medley of banana blossom, cucumber, carrots and onions tossed a light but flavorful zesty and savory salad sauce, is finished with poached prawns, roasted peanuts and fresh herbs. The unique aroma and texture of the banana blossom is light and tender, easy on the palate with a tasty flavour.

Truly unique, one simply must order the Xoi Chien Phong (RM13.90). The crispy ball of fried glutinous rice puff had us all amused at sight. Served with grilled lemongrass chicken salad, the fried glutinous rice puff is delicious. The puff is actually hollow. Crispy with bits of chew parts, the rice puff is lightly sweet too. It goes really well with the smoky chicken salad with lots of crunch from the cabbage slaw and peanuts. The dish is worth a try as I have never come across such a dish in any Vietnamese restaurants here before.

I also enjoyed the grilled rice paper dish called Banh Trang Nuong (RM8.90). The smoky chargrilled crisp rice paper is filled with bits of minced pork, quail egg and dried shrimp. The salty and moreish flavour is rather addictive and would make a great snack or appetizer.

Clam lovers are so going to love the fresh clams cooked in coconut water called Canh Chua Ngao Nuoc Dua (RM13.90). Despite the broth looking cloudy and grey, the flavours are indeed amazingly yummy. Full of briny clam flavour with a subtle coconut sweetness, there are also hints of lemongrass and chili notes. Clams were tender and delicious as well as the additions of juicy soft cherry tomatoes.

The Pho Bo (RM18.90) is a national dish of Vietnamese cuisine and the version here is sufficiently satisfying. Thin and tender slices of lean Australian tenderloin and brisket along with herbs and crunchy bean sprouts are served with medium rice noodles. As mentioned before earlier, one can order the amount of noodles that you can take – 80g, 120g, 160g or 200g at the same price. This is to avoid any food wastage, so order what you can eat!

Simmered for over 12 hours long, the broth is wonderfully beefy with hints of spices. The version hails from the North and so the broth is clear and earthy. Although the Pho Bo here is not as extravagant as some others I have savored before, this one still packed a lot of tasty notes, especially that punchy fiery house made Sriracha chili sauce served on the side. I love the overall flavours of the noodle soup so much that I literally almost polished the bowl on my own.

If there is one must-try dish at Ăn Viet, it has to be the Bun Cha (RM17.90). Chargrilled sliced pork belly and minced pork patties are served in a pool of sauce made using 100% pure fish sauce. There are pickled green papaya, carrots and chilies in the sauce too. Served on the side is thin rice noodles, fresh basil, mint and green coral lettuce.

One is supposed to take bits of everything on the side and dunk it into the sauce, then savor it with the sliced pork belly and minced pork patties. The whole dish is an explosion of flavours from its sweet, savory, tangy and lightly spicy notes to the interesting mix of textures from the pork and rice vermicelli to the herbs and greens. Unctuously tasty, the sauce really packed thunders of delicious flavours that makes you want to keep on eating the dish. Not only is it just tasty, there is an essence of comforting notes on the palate from all its beautiful mélange of ingredients. Simply a Must-Order!!

We also tried their Grilled Lemongrass Chicken (RM15.90), a street dish of rice served with grilled lemongrass marinated chicken thigh, sunny side up egg, chili and pickles. The smoky and tender chargrilled chicken is jam-packed with vibrant flavours of lemongrass, including skewered with lemongrass and grilled. Sufficiently hearty, the one dish meal is laden with enough protein to make me happy and satiated. I really like the sourish appetizing pickles and lemongrass chili that balances up the heavier proteins and rice.

The evening ended with a dessert that looked pretty familiar. Banh Bia (RM8.90) with Condensed Milk Ice Cream (RM RM12.90) is a Vietnamese style durian flavoured ‘mooncake’. Similar to the Suzhou style mooncake, this one has soft layers of pastry enveloping durian and mung bean paste with salted egg yolk. Salty and sweet, the dessert was well-received by our diners that evening. To amp up the flavours, order this with the luscious Condensed Milk Ice Cream.

There is also the Viet-ffogato (RM9.90), a house made concoction of Vietnamese drip coffee with condensed milk ice cream and coconut milk. Strong coffee notes are wondrously balanced with the sweet and luscious scoop of ice cream, a version inspired by the classic Affogato.

I have really enjoyed the scrumptious flavours of Vietnamese cuisine at Ăn Viet. There’s plenty of dishes that easily caters to every one of all ages. Portions are generous for the price and I would certainly return for the following dishes of Xoi Chien Phong, Banh Trang Nuong, Pho Bo, Bun Cha and Grilled Lemongrass Chicken!

LG-203B, The Gardens Mall,
Mid Valley City,
59200 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2201-1191

Business Hours:
Mon to Sat, 1130am - 10pm
Sun & Public Holidays, 11am - 10pm