Newly opened Co Thanh brings casual Vietnamese dining to Central with edgy flair
The restaurant, which features a limited menu, is named after Madame Thanh, who runs a noodle stand in Ho Chi Minh City
Casual Vietnamese restaurants popping up all around town. First it was Banh Mi Kitchen in Central and Le Petit Saigon in Wan Chai, and now Co Thanh has opened its doors in Central. The name means Madame Thanh, after “The Lunch Lady” who has a noodle stall in Ho Chi Minh City.
We visited soon after it opened, and the décor was still a work in progress. The door was just a thin slab of wood, some lamps outside had yet to arrive and there were gaps that needed to be filled where the concrete walls met the folding doors.
Inside, customers can watch their food being prepared right in front of them at the bar, or sit at stainless steel, no-frills tables with plastic stools.
The menu was very limited on our visit, so we tried three of the four items available. While we waited, we were given a bowl of crispy deep-fried prawn chips, a glass of salted lemon 7-Up (HK$30), and an iced Vietnamese coffee (HK$42), that tasted on the burnt side.
First to arrive was the banh mi thit (HK$88), a delicious home-made baguette that was crisp, but not too hard or soft, and full of ingredients, such as house-made pâté, five kinds of cold cuts, cucumbers, shaved carrots, chives, coriander and Vietnamese chillies for a spicy kick.
Next, came spring rolls (HK$58) served with lettuce and fish sauce. The spring rolls were piping hot and filled with seasoned minced pork. There was an insufficient number of lettuce leaves to wrap the spring rolls, but otherwise, they hit the spot – crispy on the outside, and moist and meaty on the inside.
The bun mam (HK$98) was recommended by our server (and restaurant owner) Brian Woo, for its flavourful broth. It featured stock made with two types of preserved fish, three kinds of preserved shrimp, garlic, shallots, lemongrass, chilli and chives. Pineapple was used to balance out the savouriness. Overall, we appreciated the well-seasoned broth. The bowl of soup noodles was a meal in itself, featuring fresh prawns, fish balls, squid, okra and a few slices of roasted pork, complete with crunchy skin. The rice and tapioca noodles were on the chewy side, which we liked.
Co Thanh reminded us of casual Thai restaurant, Samsen, not just in terms of the edgy décor, but also the limited menu. The restaurant doesn’t have a phone number, and it’s first come, first served. There is also no service charge.
Co Thanh 2-4 Kau U Fong, Central
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