Food Review: Năm Sông
It’s not hard to miss the brash exterior of Năm Sông situated on the Broomhill high street. A bright orange facade serves to raise awareness for the ongoing effects of chemical weapon Agent Orange in Vietnam, which is where 10% of their profits go to, amongst other charities.
The quaint coffee house in Broomhill brings you classic Vietnamese dishes in a colourful and cosy setting – so cosy, in fact, that you can even kick off your shoes and sit on the floor amongst vibrant cushions and striking artwork. We decided to head there on the Tuesday after bank holiday weekend, with four members of the Exposed team in dire need of a quick pick-me-up. Their traditional Vietnamese Phin filter coffee was just the ticket; providing a tasty caffeine kick with its distinctively sweet flavour very much to everyone’s taste (they also do an iced version for warmer days).
The menu is pretty simple: you choose from either a Bánh mì (baguette) or bowl of Phở (noodle soup). But the real tricky bit is choosing the fillings, spreads, salads and sauces thereafter. The choice you get is impressive for the Bánh mì – with nine fillings, a wide choice of pâtés and sauces, plus the option of adding up to four salads to really pack out a sandwich. My fellow diners went for lemongrass chicken, garlic sausage and Năm Sông pork, all sitting on top of a generous spread of pate or chutney, a bed of greens, chillies and the likes and with lashings of Sriracha sauce – all of this goodness stuffed between a chunky baguette .The portions were generous and even came with a handful of prawn crackers each – score! I opted for the lemongrass chicken and Portobello mushroom Phở, as any form of noodle soup is my ultimate comfort food. I was very satisfied with the flavoursome broth filled with oodles of noodles, and anyone would have guessed it with the amount of slurping action going on. Despite the counter displaying some gorgeous looking desserts in the form of apple rose tarts, banana cake, mango tarts, lime & coconut tarts and dragon fruit buttercream cupcakes, we were simply too stuffed to take them on.
On all three fronts – food, coffee and service – Năm Sông simply delivers. A must-try for any fans of Vietnamese cuisine and relaxed café atmospheres, we’ll certainly be back soon.