Lost in The Larder
I always keep an eye on Grub Street SF and in the weeks leading up to my recent visit to San Francisco I had been tracking the development of Bun Mee, the Vietnamese Bahn Mi restaurant and takeaway in Pacific Heights. Spelt phonetically, Bun Mee ensures the correct pronunciation of the sandwich. Bun Mee had only been open twenty-one days when we visited for lunch, a steady stream of workers getting their lunchtime fix in this affluent area of the city collided with busy mums. Solo diners lined the bar which sits opposite the open kitchen and there seemed always to be someone waiting in line. Considering it was just before midday on a Wednesday, I would say this is a very encouraging start. We took a table nestled in the window. I ordered a Bahn Mi Combo with sweet potato fries whilst Emma opted for a peanut pork and rice dish. For under $20 we definitely received great value in our meals. Emma struggled to finish her dish. The addition of sweet pickled red onion was really refreshing against the slight denseness to the peanut sauce which was salty, sweet and the crushed peanuts delivered the crunch. A beautiful light, but filling lunch. The Bahn Mi was one of the best I have tasted.
There are a lot of components to get right in a Bahn Mi, one of the most difficult to get right; it seems in London at least, is the bread. Bun Mee delivered on top form with a short baguette that had a light crumb and a crunchy, crisp crust. The balance of ingredients was really very good too, no one flavour dominated but they blended together perfectly. The pork was soft and not at all overcooked and I really liked the way the aioli and pate merged and soaked into the bread. I’d taken advice and ordered it to include a fried egg which was definitely worth it. The yolk was just the gooey side of runny, a good thing, and clung to the pieces of carrot and pork.
Although my sweet potato fries were at a borderline temperature; a little longer and they could be considered going cold, they were incredibly good. If I lived nearby I would visit Bun Mee often, and even if I didn’t, I would certainly travel across the city to enjoy one, especially if it had a fried egg in it!