Restaurant review: Brass Spoon in Wan Chai is one busy Vietnamese eatery
Pho soup broth is addictive and the quality of the beef is good; the cold noodles are nothing special. Be warned – you won’t get served much after 7pm
Open for a little more than a month, Brass Spoon has already gained quite a following through word of mouth. The owner was raised in France and is part Vietnamese; he learned about Vietnamese food by working with a chef of a popular restaurant. He then started his own restaurant on Moon Street, Wan Chai, selling a couple of hearty staples.
The brightly lit 18-seater has a sleek grey interior with brass and marble details. The menu is short and resembles the order sheet in a ramen shop; you can customise your bowl of pho or bun. The service is friendly and the waiter was happy to help us with the menu.
We loved the pho bo (beef noodles), which comes with a choice of thin slices of raw shoulder (HK$88) or cooked brisket (HK$82) or both; we opted for the half and half (HK$85). You can also order extra toppings such as tendon (HK$12), beef ball (HK$12) and house-made Vietnamese sausage (HK$10), although the latter was sold out during our visit.
The quality of the silky noodles and beef are good – both the raw and cooked beef slices are melt-in-the-mouth tender. But the light gold broth is even more addictive. It takes 12 hours to make and is pure and flavourful. It is on the light side, but perhaps that is why we could keep drinking it with the shop’s namesake brass spoon.
Given how gratifying the pho was, the bun (cold vermicelli with toppings) was comparatively average, although all the details they put in still make it a nice option for those who don’t eat beef. The strongly flavoured grilled pork belly (HK$78) had a puffy texture that was balanced by the crunchy vegetables, bouncy vermicelli and garlicky nuoc cham ( dipping sauce).
Other options for the bun include lemon grass chicken (HK$80) and spring rolls (HK$78). The spring rolls (HK$55) can also be ordered as an appetiser – they are crunchy with a generous amount of well-seasoned fillings. Banh mi sandwiches, which come with Vietnamese sausage (HK$55), chicken (HK$58) or pork belly (HK$60), are for takeaway only.
The night we visited, quite a few costumers who came after the last order time at 7pm were turned away. They were shocked at how early the shop closes, but the server explained that with so much prep work and most of the items made from scratch, that is the latest they could stay open.
Brass Spoon, 1 Moon Street, Wan Chai; tel, 2877 0898. Open: Monday-Saturday noon-7pm