The Vietnamese bar Ăn Chơi Plaza, which recently opened in a small place in Plaza Saint-Hubert, has given itself the mission of offering a festive place to taste lesser-known Vietnamese dishes accompanied by a good glass of wine. .

Co-owner Michelle Vo had been toying with the idea of ​​opening a restaurant for a long time. Known for her Pasthyme Instagram account, where she has been introducing Vietnamese gastronomy for a few years, she has teamed up with Vien Man Cao-Tran and Douglas Tan to create this new establishment.

“I just wanted a place to eat and drink well with friends. A place where you can have fun,” says Michelle Vo. Serving Vietnamese food came naturally with the concept, says the one who grew up with these flavors.

For Vien Man Cao-Tran, “it’s a favorite project”. Already well established in the industry having worked at Bar Otto and Otto Ramen, he was waiting for the right moment to embark on a Vietnamese restaurant project. “It’s like my little baby,” he laughs.

The menu, which was created in collaboration with the entire Ăn Chơi Plaza team, including Chef Galaxy Duong, features dishes that break away from the usual Vietnamese fare. “We make recipes inspired by our families and traditional food, explains Vien Man Cao-Tran, but we bring it with an interesting twist, more wine bar and street food. »

So we come to this new address to share a few dishes, whether it’s marrow bone and whelks, Cơm cua (fried rice with soft-shell crab and salted egg) or Bò tái chanh (carpaccio-style beef salad with lime and herbs), all of which are already very popular with customers, says co-owner Vien Man Cao-Tran.

The food isn’t meant to be “fancy,” he says. “You can come here without blowing your wallet and eat well and drink well.” »

Many have wondered about the concept of a Vietnamese refreshment bar, little seen in Montreal, but for the partners, the idea holds up. “We have natural, funky wines that go really well with what we’re serving,” says Vien Man Cao-Tran. Sommelier Daphné Blondin has prepared the wine list – mainly natural and privately imported – and, on the floor, Marilou Ayotte takes care of advising customers.

The establishment offers a selection of classic cocktails with an Asian twist. Mixologist Thomas Gauthier created them by adding a few popular Southeast Asian ingredients like lemongrass, pandan or passion fruit.

The term “Ăn Chơi” translates in English to “having fun while eating”, and the entire team at Ăn Chơi Plaza promises to honor this commitment. Already at the passage of La Presse, families, friends and couples were happily seated to enjoy the new kid on rue Saint-Hubert.