With its barebones décor and location down a tiny sub-soi, Vietnamese & More bears all the hallmarks of a poky neighborhood diner, albeit an impeccably spotless one. And yet the lure of authentic Vietnamese food, still a pretty rare commodity in Bangkok, is enticing more and more hungry foodies to take the long and winding walk to its door.
Served up by a friendly Thai husband and wife team with ties to California (a hotspot for Vietnamese cuisine), the brief menu here covers most Vietnamese favorites, from noodles and rolls to stews, sandwiches and coffee, as well as a few lesser-known Hanoi specialties like the delicious cha ca la vong (fried tilapia with herbs and spices, B185), initially a special that now seems to have made it onto the menu full-time.
Though not the DIY table-top cooking experience of the original in Hanoi, this version is an intriguing blend of turmeric, galangal and dill, given a sharper, somewhat citrus-y edge by the accompanying homemade shrimp paste. The fresh herbs also do the talking in more conventional favorites like the shrimp summer rolls (B80) and nem nuong set (pork meatballs, B175), but it’s the chicken salad (B130), bursting with basil, mint and sesame, that provides the tastiest, naturally sweet high.
It’s not just about fresh produce here, either; the kitchen demonstrates an endearing attention to detail, especially when it comes to slow-cooked broths and soups. The pho (vegetarian, chicken, beef and pork, from B75), for instance, comes with a comforting, richly seasoned broth that’s evidently been simmered for an extended period of time—far from the watery, bland soup you often find. It’s a deeply satisfying trick that’s repeated with the bo kho (Vietnamese beef stew with potato and carrot, B200), with its juicy chunks of meat, and the succulent banh mi with beef brisket and blue cheese (B200), which comes with a side of au jus. The baguettes, too, are ideal for dipping: toasted on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside.
With no air-con and a vibe that’s more homey than restaurant-like, fine dining this isn’t, but if you’re after Vietnamese that sticks close to the classics and serves them up at great prices, Vietnamese & More won’t have you asking for too much more.
*This review is of Vietnamese & More's previous location on Soi Phai Sing To. It has since moved (for more details).