Nam, Republik Damansara Heights
October 4, 2019
Weaving together Vietnamese, French and Chinese inspirations into a tapestry of pho, pâté, poached chicken rice and more, Nam finally launches this month - one of our most-anticipated restaurants at Damansara Heights' Republik F&B enclave, this is another dynamic destination by the founders of Kenny Hills Bakers, Kenny Hills Bistro and Nourish, who continue to craft some of KL's most worthwhile fare, skilfully turning top-drawer produce into terrifically enjoyable recipes.
Nam's repertoire is extensive enough to merit multiple visits; consider starting with the smoked salmon pâté, which showcases thick, tender slices of sourdough bread, meant to be slathered with a luscious spread of fresh-textured, clean-tasting salmon, studded with trout roe for an amplifying punch of flavour, a beautiful representative of why Kenny Hills Bakers and its spin-offs have become so beloved throughout nearly five years now.
Onion soups and crêpes Suzette also beckon for Francophiles, but save space for the Chinese selection, spanning Sichuan salt-and-pepper squid to roast duck and poached free-range organic chicken - the truffle egg noodles with braised mushrooms make for a soulful vegetarian meal, featuring firm noodles saturated with sumptuous earthiness in each slick strand (RM32); alternatively, the egg noodles can also be coupled with Nam's house-made char siew lamb, which we somehow missed on the menu but would certainly have otherwise ordered.
Ultimately, true to the restaurant's name, it's the Vietnamese variety that makes Nam most distinctive (considering the influence of French colonialism and Chinese domination on Vietnam, this makes for a coherent trio of cuisines for the restaurant to serve).
The beef pho is ph-abulous, thanks to the triumphantly supple beef short ribs and brisket that take centre stage in a bowl of sweetly mellow broth (RM32). And while the grilled chicken banh mi with duck liver pate might not instantly transport customers to the streets of Saigon, it's still a sandwich to savour, a pleasure to sink the teeth into (RM24; a soft-shell crab banh mi is also available).
Nam's twists on familiar favourites might pull patrons in for the first time - its meat-free take on bun chay is a tangy, toss-everything-together temptation of caramelised tofu with vermicelli, lively herbs and pickled vegetables (RM28), while its bahn xeo pancake comes plumply packed with a rich stuffing of aromatic crispy duck, watercress, pomelo and burnt orange aioli (RM36) - but its kitchen's capable, confident execution will keep them coming back. Wash it all down with revivingly hot Vietnamese coffee (RM15; cortados and cappuccinos are also offered, prepared with an Italian-constructed, copper-plated espresso machine) or a refreshingly cool water chestnut beverage (RM15).
G-02-02, Republik, Jalan Medan Setia 1, Bukit Damansara, 50490 Kuala Lumpur. Daily, 11am-11pm. Tel: 03-2011-2992
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