Be part of the in-crowd and receive exclusive party invitations and fabulous offers.SIGN UP WITH TATLER
Inspired by the colonial influence on Vietnam, An Nam features French shutters, colourful patterned floor tiles and paintings of Vietnamese ladies in traditional ao dai dresses, which toes the line between quaint and kitsch. The restaurant has two main sections for seating – the terrace seating, and indoors. Tables on the terrace overlook the ice rink, the music from which is usually rather audible, so request a table inside if you wish to chat. A private room is also available for groups needing more privacy.
The menu at An Nam is diverse, with a number of vegetarian options, so there’s plenty to please everyone.
To begin with, we have the deep-fried spring rolls, with crab, shrimp and pork. It’s served with lettuce, for wrapping, as well as a simple dipping sauce. With their incredibly light and brittle wrapper, the rolls are a delight, however, the dipping sauce is much too sweet – more acidity would have helped balance the dish out, especially considering this is the beginning of the meal.
The lotus root shredded chicken salad is a little bland and not as refreshing as hoped despite the use of a lime dressing. The chicken is very firm, and had been cut with a knife rather than shredded, which adds to its rigid mouthfeel.
The Mekong sour soup is served in a claypot and comes with a lot of vermicelli, as well as two impressively sized grilled river prawns, and is most suitable for sharing. The soup itself is tangy, bright and has just enough body to cling onto the vermicelli, and is a delight to eat. The prawns, however, are a little overcooked.
Similarly, the yellow curry beef brisket is also impressively sized and comes with Vietnamese baguettes. The curry appears to have a lot of coconut milk, and is very heavy, which overshadows any subtle spice flavours. We mostly taste tumeric and little else, and overall the flavours and textures of the creamy curry with the gelatinous beef brisket seem a little incoherent.
The belachan beef cube fried rice could do with a little more belachan for an extra kick of funky umami, but it’s largely a comforting, enjoyable dish.
For dessert, we choose the caramel custard, essentially a Vietnamese version of a crème caramel. It’s delicately set and with the intense, almost-burnt caramel sauce, packs a punch on the flavour front.
Wines by the glass are very inexpensive, but are a good reminder of that old adage, “you get what you pay for”. More interesting are their range of freshly mixed drinks – especially the non-alcoholic coolers inspired by Vietnamese che that are mid-way between a dessert and a beverage, incorporating ingredients like lotus seed, grass jelly and fruits. There are also smoothies, a few fruit-focused cocktails as well as beer, and of course, Vietnamese drip coffee.
Dinner for two with a drink each comes to $800, but there was plenty to doggy bag home, so it could have easily fed at least one more person. For the generous portions and solid food, it’s reasonably priced and would be a good choice for a casual group dinner or as a dependable neighbourhood joint.