Percy Street W1
Kim Luu was bowled over and got quite home sick!
in the very heart of London's
Fitzrovia, is the elegant French-Vietnamese restaurant Bam-Bou.
It is the perfect hide-away from
the hustle and bustle of Soho.
Both its exterior and interior
are very chic: inside, the décor
is furnished with traditional
Vietnamese lacquered furniture,
artefacts and soft candle light.
The color scheme is that of the
typical urban Hanoi home - authentic
Vietnamese embellishment with
a touch of French sophistication.
The atmosphere alone was worth
our spending! A sweet hostess
greeted us and then we were guided
to our corner table situated
by the bamboo-textured linen
curtains that adorned the windows.
where our waiter offered us his
undivided and most attentive
service. As we ventured from
the foyer to the dining area,
the familiar, and to me, poignant
aroma of far Eastern home cooking
was present the minute we walked
through the glass door.
start off what was anticipated
to be a lavish meal, our host
suggested a smooth-tasting Vin
D'Alsace Tokay (2000). These
crisp but delicate Alsatian wines
seem particularly well suited
to East Asian cuisine, and this
one quickly got us in the mood.
After placing our orders, a dish
of eddamame (steamed fresh soya
beans) was brought out for us
to occupy ourselves with. The
final touch of the rock salt
on the soya beans made it that
menu offered a variety of entrées
that ranged from seafood, curry,
meat and fish and poultry dishes.
It was quite consistent in that
it offered four choices for each
of these respective dishes. I
found the meat and fish selection
impressive because of its uniqueness
and with the use of banana leave
cooking. Besides caramelized
ginger chicken, the menu offered
honey-roasted duck with pak-choi
and water chestnuts, black beans
and garlic, and fragrant monkfish
with kumquat and pac-chi-lao.
starters, Kat (a young Philadelphian
chef) and I shared the salt and
pepper tiger prawns, crispy beef
with papaya and coconut and lime
dressing and hot and sour soup
with mussels and sorrel. What
I noticed, not only in these
dishes, was that of the recognizable
Vietnamese way of cooking which
entails much of the zesty lemon
flavour along with fresh herbs,
specifically that of lemongrass.
These ingredients produce a piquant
and flavoursome aroma and offers
the tingly sensation to the taste
buds. Other starters included:
barbecued pork ribs with lemongrass;
fragrant Asian crudités; fish
cakes with nuoc cham; pumpkin
and coconut soup; and mushroom
and buckwheat noodle soup.
my main course, I decided to
go with the seared scallops with
Chinese broccoli, black beans
and garlic. It was a wonderful
combination of all the spices,
especially the sautéed black
bean scattered on the caramelized
Chinese broccoli, topped off
with toasted sesame seeds. To
complement my dish, the host
suggested the wild mushroom noodles.
The powerful oil that it was
cooked with made it glistened
in its bamboo bowl, yet it tasted
very light - quite out-of-this
world! As for Kat's entrée, she
decided on the green curry with
chicken, bamboo and sweet potato
and a small bowl of jasmine rice.
If you like coconut, this dish
is just the answer for you. The
sweet curry sauce was smooth
and the chicken was cooked to
the perfect tenderness.
finish off our feast, we decided
to share the green mango and
pineapple fritters and the spiced
pineapple tarte tatin with green
tea ice cream. The mango sauce
was incredibly tart but once
I'd recovered from the initial
shock, its touch was what made
the dish. We probably made a
mistake sharing, because a later
bite into our spiced pineapple
tarte tatin was so very sweeeeeeeeeet.
May I ask for some water??? Water,
addition to the authentic French-Vietnamese
dishes, I was very content with
the exclusive, yet friendly,
service and the soothing atmosphere.
I highly recommend that you make
a trip to Bam-Bou! And if you
enjoy it as much as I have highly
praised it, you should try its
sister restaurants, Daphne's
and Pasha. All three share the
same owner and executive chef.
of Meal: Starters £5.50
- £6.50; Side Orders (small) £1.90
- £2.50 or (large) £2.90 - £4.50;
Salads £5.75 - £7.25; Soups £4.00
- £5.25 (small) or £6.00 - £7.75
Mains £8.75 - £13.75;
Dessert £3.75 - £8.50 (dessert
selection plate for two);
Ports & Sweeties £6.50 - £12.00 (125ml) or £24.00 - £90.00 (bottle) Wine £14.50
Lunch Menu Includes your choice
of starter, main and/or dessert
- £12.50 (2 courses) or £15.00
Bou 1 Percy Street W1 020
Luu, March 2003
also March 2003 review of sister
restaurants: Pasha and Daphne's