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The countdown is officially on – Jerry Mai’s much anticipated Annam Restaurant and Bar opens in Melbourne in late September.

September 13, 2017 Dining No Comments Email Email

Having just returned from a research visit to Vietnam, Jerry Mai is busy applying the finishing touches to Annam’s menu. Annam is a culmination of Jerry’s cultural and professional background and the flavours that make up Vietnam’s rich culinary landscape including Cambodian and Thai. Above all, the menu is inspired by Vietnamese food from her own family table. For diners this translates to food that is vibrant, satisfying and made for sharing. Dishes will include tuna tataki with cumquat nuoc nam and crispy onion, whole grilled Hiramasa Kingfish with rice paper, herb plate and pickled lemongrass nuoc nam, braised goat Somm La curry with pea eggplant, green papaya and roasted rice and Bo Kho spiced beef ribs with mustard leaf. Jerry is particularly excited about the salted caramel fried ice-cream that will form part of a decadent dessert menu.

Co-owner Rani Doyle is behind the drinks offering and has spent the last six months working closely with the kitchen team to develop a drinks list that works seamlessly with the food. The wine list will be heavy on gewürztraminers, pinot gris, gruner veltliners and local rieslings in order to make the most of bold/spicy/salty flavours. Textural chardonnays, juicy Beaujolais and savoury pinot noirs will also feature so as to stand up against the smoky dishes served straight from the chargrill. A rotating selection of natural wines will be
available (changing with the seasons) and cocktails will also be a main attraction, pairing South East Asian flavours and ingredients with premium spirits (think Four Pillars gin with nashi, Thai basil and finger lime).

Annam was the original name given to Vietnam during the French occupation and Annam Restaurant and Bar simultaneously reflects the modernity and energy of Vietnam today while also embracing its diverse cultural history. Charcoal cooking is a central focus of the menu with the charcoal being created in-house in the onsite oven from red gum and fruit trees, allowing the kitchen complete control over flavour. A one hundred seat restaurant, the atmosphere is reminiscent of what Jerry refers to as the country’s ‘glory age’ that took place
during the forties and fifties, when eating out with friends was often a glamorous affair. Build by K&K Industries and restaurant fit out by architect Emlyn Olaver, the space has been designed to emulate this energy with a variety of seating options including large communal tables, intimate banquets and bar stools surrounded by rustic exposed walls that are decked out in a curated collection of reclaimed materials and neon signs. Bright, Vietnamese vintage-inspired coasters by local design agency, Nourish (who is behind all
the Annam branding) also add a pop of colour to the tables.

For owners Jerry and Rani, Annam is above all, about creating a warm, inviting and indulgent environment that reflects the all-in, communal nature of dining in Vietnamese culture – a place to relish the pleasure of sharing a beautiful meal over great conversation with cherished family and friends.

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