New restaurant serving modern, healthy Vietnamese food with the liberal use of native herbs opens in London’s Charing Cross.
“Vietnamese food, with its sharp, fresh flavours and generous use of herbs, is the latest trendy Asian cuisine.” Harriett Arkell, The Daily Mail
MOC Kitchen is the first restaurant venture from founder and Vietnamese born, Ms Lan Nguyen. Born and raised in Hanoi, Lan brings to London’s diners a lifetime’s knowledge of Vietnamese ingredients, native herbs and regional cooking styles. “Food is at the heart of Vietnamese culture,” says Lan.
“The word ‘moc’ in Vietnamese translates as pure, wholesome, transparent and true and the food we create at MOC Kitchen captures that philosophy with dishes made from scratch every day, using fresh, vibrant ingredients infused with native, healing herbs. The area surrounding us, here in WC2 is crammed with convenience food outlets offering cold, pre-packed meals. We want to offer diners something more.”
The MOC Kitchen experience is all about casual and effortless healthy eating and Lan has selected herbs indigenous to Vietnam, and with specific healing properties, to incorporate into her menu.
Vietnamese herbs used at MOC Kitchen include:
- Wild Betel Leaf (LA LOT) Valued both as a mild stimulant, digestive, stimulant, expectorant, carminative, anti-bacterial
- Dill Weed (THI LA) Strong, distinctive taste that is like a combination of fennel, aniseed and celery, with warm, slightly astringent undertones
- Vietnamese Mint (RAU RAM) Coriander on steroids!
- Rice Paddy Herb (RAU NGO) Lively, fresh flavour bursting with citrus and lemon zest.
MOC KITCHEN Menu
Under Lan Nguyen’s direction, Head Chef, Tien Than, has created a fresh and fragrant menu offering a modern, healthy take on authentic Vietnamese cuisine.
Sample dishes include:
Hot ‘la lot’ Rolls: Grilled Lemongrass Beef wrapped in wild betel leaf.
Juicy, lean beef infused with fragrant and therapeutic lemongrass is grilled till sizzling in Vietnamese betel leaves favoured for their anti-bacterial properties and as an aid to digestion
Summer Rolls: Fish, Duck, Prawn or Tofu with herbs and rice noodles.
Packed with fragrant, Vietnamese healing herbs and rice noodles, perfect for dipping in sweet chilli sauce
Lotus Stem and Prawn Salad: Lotus stem, prawn, carrot, Vietnamese herbs and peanut
Fresh and light, with a little chilli warmth, the collagen-boosting lotus stem supports the immune system and is also a rich source of Vitamin C, calcium, iron and fibre Rare Beef Mixed Salad: Medium rare beef sliced, red onion, Vietnamese herbs with sweet and sour sauce
Lean beef, sweet and crunchy red onion, fragrant, fresh native herbs
Sweet Potato Pancake with sour fish sauce
A great substitute for wheat this comes gluten-free, naturally
Grilled ‘Cha Ca’ Fish: Marinated monkfish, Vietnamese dill, spring onion, roasted peanut served with rice noodles
Generous chunks of marinated monkfish flavoured with Vietnamese dill known to be free-radical fighting and also for its anti-bacterial properties
PHO: Chicken, Beef and Fish from £8.90
Everyone’s favourite; a steaming, savoury soup bowl of comforting chicken or beef loaded with saw leaf to stave off colds, and Vietnamese basil to help prevent certain cancers, inflammation and bacterial growth
How to Eat Vietnamese Herbs the Traditional Way
In the Vietnamese kitchen herbs are eaten raw, rather than cooked, as an accompaniment to foods. Bunches of herbs are placed along with lettuce leaves and diners are invited to help themselves pinching off individual leaves to add to their bowl or to tuck into a hand roll. Stems are usually discarded.
Tucked away under the arches off Villiers Street, MOC Kitchen’s interiors of dark woods, intimate lighting, comfy, leather banquettes and cushioned chairs conjure an authentic Vietnamese casual vibe complimented by south east Asian hospitality and service.
2 The Arches
Villiers Street, Charing Cross
London WC2N 6NG
Tel: 020 7839 1420 | 020 7930 8789
For the full menu, opening hours and more information go to www.mockitchen.co.uk