Annam has been touted as ‘The best pho in Manila’. Its arrival on Philippine shores has been greatly hyped – Their first branch opened up in Eastwood last July. Although Annam serves Vietnamese dishes, it actually started off in Singapore back in 2012, under the name Namnam Noodle Bar. The name change only applies here in Manila, since there’s a Filipino resto in Greenbelt that bears a similar name.
Namnam’s Vietnamese owner, Chef Nam, was a refugee who moved to Denmark with his family during the height of the Vietnam war. Despite living in Vietnam for only seven years, he still managed to learn all about Vietnamese culture thanks to his parents. Later on, Nam honed his skills as a chef by working in restaurants and hotels. Eventually, he opened up the first Namnam branch in Singapore. Namnam only uses the freshest ingredients for their dishes, and no MSG. They also rely on quick service to provide their customers with tasty Viet food.
Nicely lit interior. I enjoyed the music as well – A combination of Motown hits from the 70s, disco, and classic rock songs.
Menu. According to our waiter, they’ll be adding rice meals pretty soon.
Sauteed Lemongrass Pork with Cream Cheese Banh Mi. As expected, the baguette was crispy, crunchy, and finely toasted. Could barely taste the cream cheese, but the veggies found inside the banh mi were very flavorful. The pork was sautéed very nicely, and had a tender texture.
Crispy Imperial Rolls. They used a different kind of rice wrapper for their spring rolls, giving it a nice crunch – Although the thickness of the wrapper does outweigh the amount of ground beef/veggies inside.
Pho Australian Beef Steak Slices. The broth had a hint of spiciness to it – Its warmness enveloped my entire body. The noodles weren’t too thick or thin. You can actually choose if you want your pho served with regular rice noodles, or instant noodles (although I probably wouldn’t call it ‘pho’ anymore – More like instant beef ramen). They also had a nice chewy texture to it, albeit slightly slippery. It was quite challenging to pick it up with plastic chopsticks. The beef slices were the main highlight of this dish, since they didn’t just use the regular slim slivers of brisket/tendons you would usually find in a regular bowl of pho. Instead, Annam uses fresh Australian beef, served medium-rare.
Wonderful – Absolutely wonderful. I’ve always loved Vietnamese cuisine because of its usage of fresh ingredients, and Annam’s dishes are no exception here. After trying out their food, I’m going to have to agree with the ‘Best pho in Manila’ title!
Food: 5/5 (taste), 5/5 (presentation)