It’s my first time in Maginhawa. Known as a big food jungle that is home to new restaurant concepts, food parks and themed cafes, Maginhawa’s food choices seemed horrendously endless. Having thought that we’d end up chaotically checking each restaurant and confusing ourselves with the number of selections, we settled on a recent craving of mine: Vietnamese food.
It somehow reminds me of two significant things: first, my cancelled birthday trip to Vietnam with friends this year; and secondly, an unforgettable dining years ago at Ba nois, another Vietnamese food gem in Makati. Hence, Vietnomnom was the destination with all these special reasons and reminders.
The restaurant had nice interiors: modern, sleek and vibrant. The shades of green and yellow suggest freshness, and radiates a cheerful aura to its diners. I liked that this spot in Maginhawa is spacious compared to its neighbors.
The timing was perfect since we got ourselves hungry after strolling from Barkin Blends, which I will discuss in another blog post. After indulging in sinful burgers and pasta, we thought of resorting to lighter food choices: Phó Noodles and spring rolls.
Chris got this Beef Phó while I got the Chicken. Vietnamese restaurants usually brag about simmering the broth for 12 hours to bring out the innate, meaty flavor in Phó noodles. I had probably set the meter too high from my experience at Ba nois, where the broth is really tasty. Nevertheless, the beef brisket was tender and juicy and the rice noodles had the right texture. It was a just bit pricy for its small serving size and not-so-impressive taste.
Each Phó serving comes with a complimentary plate of mung bean sprouts (togue), mint leaves, chili and lime. I am not a big fan of togue so I skipped adding this to my soup, and tried to enhance the flavor with chili and lime.
I got Chicken and Egg Phó so we can both taste two different versions. I liked that the chicken was cooked well and didn’t have the fishy taste that I usually complain about when eating chicken noodles. The broth was invigorating but not as savory as I expected it to be. The soup had the apparent chicken-taste in it, but can be improved more.
Good thing, the Gòi Cuón or Shrimp Spring Roll redeemed it all. A healthy appetizer perfect to pair the noodles, Gòi Cuón comes in variants of Shrimp, Chicken and Mushroom. The lettuce is enclosed in rice wrapper and rolled with rice vermicelli, carrots, radish, shrimp, cucumber and topped with nuts. The pickled veggies had this strong, tangy flavor that blew me away. The assorted fillers bring a delightful contrast of textures, perfectly blending with Hoisin sauce.
I certainly wish they had more beverage options since it was only limited to coffee, soda and Sugar cane and Lime Juice. We found the latter a bit weird. It smells corn but tastes honeydew, not lime.
Although Vietnomnom for me has not captured fully the essence of authentic Vietnamese food, it could a great learning ground for the management’s menu expansion and openness to adapt with changes – just tweak on the basic elements. The location is already nice and the main ingredients are there – just improve the taste and innovate the menu more. I may go back but perhaps not for Pho anymore, but for its sandwiches and salads.
This marks the official start of a Maginhawa food trip series, and I wish to discover plenty notable restaurants and add it to my book.
Ground Floor, Maginhawa Building, 189 Maginhawa Corner Makadios Street,
Sikatuna Village, Quezon City
Phone number: None
Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday, 12 PM to 9 PM; Friday 12 PM to 10 PM; Saturday to Sunday 11:30 AM to 9:30 PM
Website: http://www.vietnomnom.net/ (website not working as of this writing)