NAM, the Vietnamese restaurant and audiophile bar on Cutting Room Square in Ancoats has refreshed its menu of Vietnamese favourites, as well as adding a few new dishes.
Behind the new menu is chef Gary Weir, who has been inspired by the Vietnamese heritage of NAM’s founder Nam Tran. Dishes have been designed to embrace all five flavour elements - sweet, sour, bitter, heat, and saltiness - in perfect harmony. This is a relaxed and casual dining experience with food that is unpretentious and soulful, while packing consistent punchy flavours.
“I started my development process by going to Nam’s brother’s house to eat with their family and get a feel for their cooking traditions which have been shaped by their Vietnamese culture,” says Gary. “It was an insightful experience and gave me a good foundation of their country’s traditional dishes. After that I then experimented to put different spins on them.
“Additions of bone marrow, ferments and glazes to elevate them and bring out even more flavour and textures. It was a really fun process and the outcome is dishes that add another dimension to the traditional Vietnamese cuisine that’s on offer in the city.”
Gary’s new menu sits alongside NAM’s popular classics including Pho, Bánh Mi, Bún, Fried Rice, Vietnamese Curry and Summer Rolls. Now you can order a variety of small plates which you can choose as a starter or grab a selection of them for a Vietnamese tapas experience to share with family or friends.
Clams Saigon Style are steamed with lemongrass and chilli and dressed in scallion oil, peanuts, turmeric and lime. The result is so delicious, powerful and fragrant I wasn’t sure whether to scoop it up with rice or dab it behind my ears.
Bo Luc Lac or ‘Shakin' Beef’ is a popular Vietnamese dish, named in honour of the vigorous shaking and stirring required to attain the perfect sear – charred and sticky on the outside and perfectly tender within. Thick chunks of aged sirloin have been marinated in nutty sesame and salty soy with the addition of bone marrow and pho spices to add a beautifully sticky glaze.
We’ll have to come back to try the sticky caramel and ginger chicken wings, but we can recommend King Prawn Lollipops - minced king prawns, blended with Asian herbs, bonito flakes to add some smokiness, and served with homemade sweet chilli.
Roasted Sea Bream is a nod to how the Vietnamese typically eat their fish - whole, grilled with a simple but delicious dressing. NAM’s is marinaded and grilled in a tangy fermented tomato and smoked anchovy sauce. It could happily feed one hungry person but we shared it between two with boiled rice and pan-fried head of pak choi, with salty and sweet preserved bean curd and a crispy garlic dressing.
Other new large plates include Xa Xiu baby back pork ribs, smothered in a Shaoxing and sesame marinade, with a honey and ginger caramel glaze, served with fennel slaw and chopped scallions. There’s also a crispy fried mushroom salad featuring deep-fried oyster and shimeji mushrooms, vermicelli, shredded carrot and cucumber, sesame, orange and miso dressing.
NAM also offers a great range of craft ales and beers, both on draught and in bottles, alongside some of their personal Asian favourites. There’s a food friendly selection of wines – we enjoyed a bottle of Whispering Angel rosé – as well as some well-crafted cocktails with a distinct Asian influence. Once you’ve finished eating, you’re welcome to head downstairs to their basement bar, grab a comfy sofa and enjoy the smooth tunes coming through their excellent sound system Thurs-Sat.
A selection of deals on food and drink is also available throughout the week. On Mondays you can get two-for-one on any bao bun, while Pho Thursdays offer any Pho and a Tiger beer for £10.
NAM’s lunch deal runs Monday to Friday, 12pm – 4pm, where for £10 you can indulge in a large plate alongside a glass of wine, Tiger beer or soft drink.
NAM is open every day of the week, Sunday to Thursday from 12pm-11pm, Friday and Saturday from 12pm-12am.
On Sundays, they serve a very special Vietnamese-inspired Sunday roast with A savoury Vietnamese doughnut takes the place of the traditional Yorkshire pudding and Pho gravy. Read our recent review of that HERE.
nammcr.com, 33 Blossom Street, Ancoats M4 6AJ
Follow them on Instagram @nammcr
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