What it's like at Suum Vietnamese Kitchen in Marlow
PUBLISHED: 11:15 15 October 2019 | UPDATED: 15:16 15 October 2019
I admit, I had never tried Vietnamese food before. But when I heard about the Suum Vietnamese Kitchen just over the border in Marlow, I embarked on a voyage of delicious discovery
I loved the look and feel of the place. It's sleek and dark, with an attractive tiled floor and bar, and modern screening. The staff were so welcoming, we were made to feel right at home. And most importantly the menu... it's inspired by the flavours, ingredients, aromas and techniques found along the Mekong and Red River Delta.
From Hai Phong, husband-and-wife duo Nhung and Nhan came to the UK separately as students, and after meeting and settling down together, the pair shared a dream of opening a restaurant replicating the authentic, comforting, home-cooked dishes from their homeland.
Every dish in the cuisine of Vietnam features the five distinctive 'pillars' or tastes ('ng vi'). 'Suum' is derived from the Vietnamese 'sum vâ y', meaning a cosy gathering around a dining table, which is a daily ritual in the culture of the Southeast Asian country.
Lunch features a line-up of soul-restoring Pho, generously filled crispy bánh mì and big bowls filled with delicious ingredients, and for dinner, the menu expands, offering a huge selection of regional small plates as starters (green mango or papaya salad; summer rolls; soft shell crab) and larger dishes segmented into fish, meat, soups and noodle dishes, whilst vegetarian and vegan options are available for many of the options.
For starter, I chose the bánh xèo sài gòn (Sai Gon sizzling pancake) at £9.50. An enormous crispy rice pancake arrived filled with chicken, beansprouts, prawns and spring onions, and came served with lettuce leaves, fresh herbs and a little jug of sweet and sour sauce. Full of flavour, this was, I think, one of the best starters I've ever had.
I hadn't expected the portions to be so generous, so I was rather full after finishing every last mouthful, but I'd already ordered my main.
My chicken Naughty Roti (£10.50), which we would call a curry, arrived in a black dish with a side bowl of fluffy jasmine rice. The curry was medium-spiced, and I could taste the coconut cream and pineapple.
I really enjoyed it, and the staff were keen to hear what I thought. They're eager to show off and share their Vietnamese offering and I can see why. The food needs to be tasted to be appreciated, but I can tell you, you won't be disappointed.
They have also launched a children's menu, hoping to encourage little ones to be more open-minded with their food choices and try something new. And I think my girls would love it. In fact, now I know where we'll be going for lunch this weekend.
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