Newly opened Moi Moi by Luke Nguyen, Central – attractive Vietnamese fare served with style

The green tea smoked duck breast and Aunty 5’s rice cakes were standouts in celebrity chef’s menu replete with pretty dishes of varied flavour and texture

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 February, 2017, 12:31pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 February, 2017, 12:31pm

Moi means “welcome” in Vietnamese, and when we walked into Moi Moi by Luke Nguyen, our welcome was very warm, because we were recognised. Even the chef came over to say hello. So much for trying to review a new restaurant anonymously.

They might have taken extra care with our food – who knows? – but Nguyen didn’t look only after us; we watched as the TV chef visited other tables to explain the dishes to guests, and to take selfies with fans. We enjoyed the dishes we tasted, and are keen to visit at lunch to try dishes of beef pho and salmon pho.

Nguyen’s dishes look pretty and he’s careful to vary the flavours and textures for each one. The green tea smoked duck breast (HK$138) featured meat with a delicate smokiness combined with a delicious salad of banana blossoms, perilla, pickled vegetables, julienned carrots and blanched bean sprouts.

Aunty 5’s rice cakes (HK$148) are Nguyen’s contemporary take on a childhood treat. The rice cakes are steamed then pan-fried before being topped with caramelised pork neck, prawns and pork floss. We liked the crunchy and chewy texture of the rice cakes, and all the ingredients need to be eaten together to get the full flavour effect.

For the “middle course”, we chose the lemon grass wagyu beef (HK$148): small parcels of marbled meat wrapped in a dark green betel leaf then chargrilled. As instructed, we wrapped the parcels in lettuce leaves and added herbs, vermicelli and sauce.While we liked how the dish emphasised the fresh greens, the meat parcels were too small and were lost among the vegetables.

Our main was the caramelised Kurobuta pork belly braised in young coconut water, the meat slices then topped with a 63-degree egg (HK$198). We thoroughly enjoyed the tender pork belly, and wished there was more runny egg yolk to go around. Another plus was the small bowl of pickled mustard greens that cut through the richness of the meat.

For dessert, avocado tart (HK$88) was creamy and not too sweet. Honeycomb added crunch and shiso leaves brightened the flavours of this intriguing dessert.

Moi Moi by Luke Nguyen, Nexxus Building, 41 Connaught Road, Central, tel: 2808 1086

While you’re in the area:

Chiu Tang brings Chiu Chow cuisine to Central

Dragon Noodles Academy, Central – great buzz, good food in characterful surroundings

Restaurant review: Kanidou Noda in Central – crab-focused Japanese omakase