Since I wasn’t too wowed by their private kitchen, I wasn’t exactly in a rush to check it out when they opened their new branch in soho. Yes, I’m typically skeptical about the floor to ceiling windowed pretty hangouts; there had been too many of those popping up in the past year and mostly with little substance. Not to mention the kinda crowd they typically draw. But Cel, Lisa and I just wanted a place that’s chill, fun and convenient so we decided to check Chôm Chôm out.
All the tables were taken by the time we got to the restaurant at 7pm; Cel was waiting for us at the bar and since I was really keen on sitting at the bar to enjoy the full view of the open kitchen we gladly took the bar table. One of the pros of sitting at the bar is that you get to see what comes out of the kitchen, and you can just point and order. The sous chef explained that the lights are designed in such a way that you can take pretty pictures of the food at the bar, as well as taking pictures of the food being prepared behind the bar! How thoughtful! =)
Given a choice, I’d always stick to room temperature or hot drinks so when I saw that there were practically no hot drinks on the menu, I ordered an “Ice tea without Ice”. Cel couldn’t stop laughing but there IS a difference between “just tea” and “Ice tea without ice”!! Tea is just plain tea but Ice tea without ice is basically ice tea with all that mint leaf and whatever herb and sugar and spice that go in minus the ice served at room temperature!
Chôm Chôm’s menu consisted of interpretation of classic dishes and street food as well as craft beer and Vietnamese inspired cocktails. Chef Peter Cuong Franklin, who’s also the owner of Chôm Chôm private kitchen, was born and raised in Vietnam. The love of food brought this Yale graduate to Cordon Bleu and he had trained and worked at top restaurants in Chicago, Bangkok and Hanoi since then. Wanting to introduce the Bia Hoi culture (sipping freshly brewed beer on street corners while munching on street food) to HK, he turned his private kitchen into this chic neighborhood hangout.
Salmon Tartar served with fried prawn crackers. The salmon tartar mixed with lime, salmon roe, red onion was refreshing and packed with flavors. The salmon roe added bursts of salty deliciousness to the sour and spicy dish. I loved using the crackers to spoon out the salmon tartar, adding texture to the dish
Shaking Beef -Beef Tenderloin, Watercress & Rocket Salad. I know this dish was supposed to be eaten with rice, but the tenderloin was a tad too salty and I would prefer it to be bit more tender
Bun Cha Pork Skewers Pork Belly, Pork Shoulder, Vermicelli, Nuoc Cham. Pork was tender and juicy on the inside, slightly charred with subtle smokiness on the outside, I usually dread having pork belly just coz I hate the texture of chunky fats. This dish was actually pretty well balanced with the nuoc cham (fish sauce mixed with lime, garlic and sugar)
Pho Rolls Grilled Beef, Fresh Rice Noodle, Pickles, Purple Basil
The pho rolls reminds me of the Chinese rice noodle rolls (usually with char siew or shrimps inside), I din quite like the texture of this pho roll, it felt a little too thick and the texture was bit flat. The flavor wasn’t very memorable either
We saw the chef preparing this dish and we just couldn’t stop staring so we ended up getting one for ourselves too Cha Ca Hanoi White Sole Fillet, Turmeric, Dill, Vermicelli. BEST dish of the day! The sides of the fillet were slightly crispy and added an interestingly slight chewy, caramelized texture to the tenderness of the tofu-like softness inside. I could have another order on my own
chef: this is on the house, would you gals like to try it?
us: since you insist, we’ll take it :p
Kaffir Lime Chicken Cabbage Salad Red Onion, Jicama, Rau Ram- The fried chicken was surprisingly light, I really don’t usually eat fried stuff but this had a good balance with the cabbage salad removing any hint of greasiness in the chicken
We REALLY, like really really really, wanted to have the Viet Coffee Affogato Saigon Cinnamon Ice Cream, Caramelized Condensed Milk, Rice Krispies! Just the sound of it made me drool! But the tragedy of life is that they aren’t serving that dish that night :'(
us: WHAT?! How can you tease us with this tempting dessert on your menu and not serve it?
chef: can I at least explain why we aren’t serving it us ** covering our ears** Lalalalalalalalala
us: NO! we demand to have it! really really!!!
Chef: (-_-“) the weather is too hot and our freezer isn’t ready so we can’t serve this dish… I can give you fruit platter on the house!
us: NO!**stamp feet** we want the other one!!!!
Cel almost had to drag L and I out of Chom Chom before we throw a tandrum.. ok fine… I was exaggerating, we were very well behaved and resigned to fate after we stamped our feet. But note to self, I’m coming back for drinks and this drool inducing dessert! I heard they have really good cocktails, L had a call after and Cel wasn’t feeling very well so we opted for non alcoholic drinks instead.
The bill came up to under $300 per person which is really very reasonable for the location and the quality of food served. Thou with TBLS‘s awesome Vietnamese menu still fresh in my mind, it is a tough one to compete with. I really liked the buzzing vibe at Chom Chom, it was everything we thought we wanted, fun, casual and not overly crowded. The chefs and crew were friendly, I would highly recommend the bar table if you have just a group of 2 or 3s. It really added to the whole dining experience here, the only downside was that we kinda smelled like food after the dinner.
G/F Block A
No. 58-60 Peel Street
Central, Hong Kong
Open Monday to Sunday
6PM till late