Monday, August 26, 2013

Vietnamese Flavours in HK

hkLifestyleGeek visits Chom Chom

Chef Peter Cuong Franklin incubated Chom Chom in a small bar-like restaurant on Wellington Street over a year ago. Despite having a limited kitchen facilities that resulted in a very focused menu, the Cordon Bleu-trained chef soon became well known for his pho using broth made from beef bones, and his freshly-made ice cream.

Fast forward to today, where Franklin recently moved Chom Chom to Peel Street, above Hollywood Road, where you won't find the pho on the menu -- yet -- as he wants to present his modern take on other Vietnamese dishes.

The decor is minimalist and sleek, though the hard surfaces tend to result in quite a noisy restaurant; the 80s music in the background is fun, but the volume gets turned up the later it gets...

Nevertheless the food is unpretentious and stands up on its own with fresh flavours. To start, the grilled beef in betel leaf (HK$88) packed a punch of spiciness that we think may have overdosed on the chillis. It was garnished with shallots, peanuts and spring onions.

The closest thing to pho on the menu are the pho rolls (HK$78), the fresh rice noodle wrapped around grilled beef pickles and purple basil. This was a straight-forward dish, while the VFC or Vietnamese fried chicken wings (HK$88) had more layers of flavours that make it far tastier than KFC.

There's lots of salads on the menu and the kaffir lime chicken cabbage salad (HK$78) also has various tastes and textures from the deep fried chicken to the freshly prepared salad that looked deceptively simple but delicious.

Another great dish is the shaking beef (HK$158), featuring beef tenderloin, watercress and rocket salad. The mini garlic is fried and softened to open up their sweetness, that make a great complement to the tender beef.

We also loved cha ca Hanoi (HK$138), or white sole fillet generously garnished with dill. The beautifully flaked fish seasoned with cumin sits on a bed of marinated vermicelli and this plate was a definite winner.

Delicacy was also observed in the grilled eggplant with crab meat (HK$98), a steamed egg nestled among the warm eggplant, topped with spring onion, coriander and mint.

Franklin doesn't have his signature ice creams ready either, but for dessert, have the seasonal tropical fruit platter (HK$58), where he presents two small dipping sauce plates with two different kinds of salts in them.

Following the rule that adding salt to pineapples makes them sweeter, you can experiment with spicy and savoury salts with watermelon, cantaloupe, rambutan, dragon fruit and of course pineapples to end your meal.

Chom Chom
58 Peel Street
2810 0850

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