Since I got back here, one particular cuisine always comes up when discussing our culinary adventures. Besides our liking for Japanese, Italian, and Middle Eastern food in no particular order, Vietnamese comes out as third in Kat’s list, because of some previous culinary adventures and the reputation of Vietnamese cuisine as being somewhat healthy, at least compared to some Filipino cooking. Thankfully, we finally found some time to try out the food at Ba Noi’s, on Perea Street in Makati.
After a lot of debate over the rather extensive menu, Kat took the Bun Ga Nuong Xa which is grilled lemongrass chicken over dry rice noodles. I, on the other hand, had Bo Luc Lac which stir-fried beef served with fried basil leaves and a salt and pepper dip with lime. To wash it all down, we ordered some Jasmine Tea.
The Bo Luc Lac is a well-balanced dish with the medium rare beef, fried basil, and dip complementing each other in the tightrope of getting different flavors to jive well together. It’s perfect with the plain rice I ordered, but at the same time, had to set aside the chili and the seeds as much as I could. If medium rare isn’t your thing, one can definitely ask if the chef could meet it to your standards (but whatever you do, don’t butcher it by asking for a well-done). The salt and pepper dip that comes with this dish is a simple but delicious touch.
On the other hand, the lemongrass chicken came of as more hot and peppery than tart and lemony. This wasn’t entirely a surprise, knowing that Vietnamese cuisine shares some similarities with other Southeast Asian cuisines such as Thai. As it was, the rice noodles made an interesting contrast to the rest of the very savory ingredients.
And the Jasmine tea is a nice touch to cleanse the palate after a savory meal.
The place had a casual metropolitan chic feel to it, well suited for its casual dining feel. If you’re going for something authentic-looking, this isn’t the place. Otherwise, the place is definitely worth a shot.
Food Score: 5/5. As food goes, Ba Noi’s is spot on and if Kat’s red cheeks after eating all the spicy goodness is concerned, a moment of perfection. This place also serves Vietnam drip coffee, which is reputed to be good (and Kat still mourns the fact that she cannot have any of this drink).
Ambiance / Service Score: 4/5. The servers are attentive enough and catered to our needs well. And the modernist interior is neat and visually pleasing to dine in.
GERD Score: 2.5/5. Thankfully there are options, but unfortunately, not many for someone dealing with heartburn because Vietnamese cuisine has bird’s eye chili as a staple.
Epilepsy Score: 4/5. In general, dishes here do not rely on preserved meats or artificial seasonings, which is a good thing. Unless one is triggered by chilis, this place should be pretty safe.
Team Glasses Food Score: 4/5. Ba Noi’s definitely meets up our expectations of a good Vietnamese restaurant, having both good food and a comfortable place to eat. We enjoyed our experience here and recommend the place for those who want to take a bite of Vietnamese cuisine.
To our readers, if you have any suggestions as to which restaurant or cafe you’d like us to try next, go to our Contact Us page and let us know your thoughts and suggestions.