story by Marie Adamo
photography by Danielle Campani
Review of restaurant CơM Vietnamese in Richmond. Published in the 2019 issue of Pacific Rim Magazine, distributed to BC subscribers of the Globe & Mail. Published online here.
Cơm Vietnamese is a modern, family-owned restaurant located in Richmond, BC. Open since December 2018, it is trendy but approachable—suited to their family friendly sharing menu. A neon sign that reads Cơm (rice in Vietnamese) hangs above the door, which opens into a rounded room with impressively high ceilings. The modern booths and minimalist furniture contrast with colourful floral patterns on the walls and light fixtures. It is an impressive interior, and we wondered if the food would live up to the atmosphere.
To start we ordered two house cocktails that add fresh spins on classic drinks. The Tropical Stormy is a passionfruit-infused take on the rum-based Dark ‘n’ Stormy: refreshing, perfectly spiced with ginger, and not too sweet. The Whisky Sweet and Sour offers a softer edge to the classic Whisky Sour with a touch of lemongrass. Both drinks get two thumbs up from us. For those not interested in cocktails, the drink menu is innovative and extensive, including many non-alcoholic options.
For an appetizer we ordered the Bì Cuốn, a vermicelli pork and lettuce wrap dusted with roasted rice powder. It was tasty, fresh, and came with a side of fish sauce.
We were pleasantly surprised by the Papaya Salad, which stood out as the star of the night. The strips of unripe papaya create a crisp noodle-like base, and the dressing adds a tangy burst of flavour. Topped with fresh prawns, pork loin, and peanuts, it is a hearty salad and highly recommended for those looking for something a little different.
For mains we shared the Vermicelli Bowl Special with chargrilled chicken, pork, and beef, as well as the Cari Chay on rice. The Vermicelli Bowl is a standard crowd-pleaser on most Vietnamese menus and Cơm’s version did not disappoint. The Cari Chay is a vegetarian curry with tofu, mushrooms, taro, and a hint of sweet coconut. It is flavourful and filling enough to satisfy even non-vegetarians, and its richness helped balance some of the other fresh and savoury options we ordered.
We decided on the Taro Pudding for dessert. Playing with contrast, it was both sweet and salty with warm taro served in a bowl of cold coconut milk, making for a lovely and surprising treat.
The food definitely lived up to the atmosphere at Cơm Vietnamese and the service was quick and attentive. We were able to sample a variety of dishes and look forward to spending another evening trying everything we missed. We would recommend sharing with friends and family at this sophisticated yet casual haunt.