February 2, 2012
If the name sounds familiar, it could be because 1 Utama's Vietnam House is the spin-off from a First World Hotel establishment on Genting Highlands. Vietnamese booze is the key attraction, but we'll get to that after the food.
It's pork-free, but there's no lack of traditional pleasures here. The steamed "banh beo" succeeds as a dainty alternative to Chinese dim sum. Smooth, sticky rice cakes, deliciously topped with chopped shrimp, crispy shallots & fish sauce.
A simple but spectacularly satisfying stew: braised chicken in coconut juice with egg in claypot. Something like this truly gives home-cooked recipes a good name.
One-plate meals are also available: Saigonese broken rice with grilled chicken.
Beef occupies a place of pride on the menu. Try the "beef fondue"...
... with raw marinated slices of meat cooked at the table by the helpful service team.
Grilled beef slices & skewered beef, with all the trimmings of Vietnamese fare.
Beef wrapped in betel leaves & beef salad. Enough to eat until the cows come home.
Here's where we needed the staff's assistance again: to transform the beef salad into beef rolls wrapped in rice paper. Despite the overwhelming bovine content of this dinner, we couldn't stop munching on the meat; the marinade is addictive.
A vast variety of desserts is available, but with scant stomach space remaining, we settled for these chilled lotus seeds in lychee compote.
Red wine from Vietnam's highland city of Dalat, for RM100++. Pretty interesting, with a slightly sweet, uncomplicated flavor that's suitable for easy drinking.
Hanoi rice-distilled vodka, a decent deal at RM24++ for 300 ml. The manufacturer insists this is best consumed with "roasted sweet snails" (not on Vietnam House's menu, alas).
S122, 2nd Floor, 1 Utama Shopping Center.