In Annam’s menu you will see parallels with Chef Jerry Mai’s life. There are the Cambodian and Thai influences from the noodle stands her parents used to run in refugee settlements; the Vietnamese influences from her time at Pho Nom; and the cheeky and chic cocktails, no doubt partially influenced by her stint at the stellar Longrain.
Annam is a lot of fun, with bright lights, high ceilings and kung fu movies projected onto the walls. Friendly waiters are an extension of the good vibes that are being mixed up in the kitchen.
While touted as Vietnamese, there are influences from across Asia, with caramel lamb ribs sitting side-by-side with tuna tataki. Chef Mai does something special with the squid ink cuttlefish with prickly ash, resembling small lumps of dried lava on a charcoal black plate, with slivers of bright red chilli the only splash of colour. Oxtail dumplings are plump and flavour packed and the Chinese doughnuts with hoi sin are also hard to pass up.
PSST! Leave the decisions to the kitchen by ordering their ‘Chow Down in Chinatown’ tasting menu.