Nam Song Leeds review: Trying tasty Vietnamese street food at this cosy city centre gem
Năm Sông might be the most inviting-looking restaurant in Leeds.
As I waited for my friend to arrive, I peered through the windows at the warm orange decor, beautiful lanterns and snapshots of Vietnam that adorn the walls.
There’s low tables and comfy cushions for those who want to kick off their shoes and dine the traditional way, as well as rustic wooden tables and cosy booths.
Năm Sông’s founders fell in love with Vietnam while travelling, opening two Sheffield eateries in the hope of spreading their love for the people, the food and the atmosphere.
The New Briggate restaurant was buzzing when we arrived at 6pm on a weeknight, a good sign for a venue just a few months old, and we received a warm welcome from the charming manager.
There’s a small evening menu which includes a selection of sides and starters, gluten-free cơm tấm (broken rice) curries, pho (noodle soup) and bún bowls full of fresh veggies.
We shared the mushroom and ginger spring rolls to start, which were deliciously crispy and filled with aromatic flavours.
I’m vegetarian and there was plenty for me to choose from. I opted for the Cà Ri Chay curry: a butternut squash, sweet potato and kaffir lime leaf coconut dish, served over broken rice with sesame rice crackers.
The sweet potato was grilled and slightly smoky, while the curry had a nice hit of chilli and the crispy sesame crackers were the perfect accompaniment. The rice was divine. I would have liked some fresh veggies to balance the sweetness of the dish - chuck in some pak choi and this dish would have been a 10/10.
My friend went for the Thit Kho Thom - sticky sweet caramelised pork belly with garlicky greens and pineapple chunks, served over broken rice. She said the pulled pork belly was juicy and tender, but found the addition of pineapple a little too sweet for her liking.
We washed down our curries with two smooth Phojitos, shaken with lemongrass, kaffir lime and ginger syrup. Our total bill came to just under £50 - slightly pricey for street food, but the portions were plentiful.
It’s hard to stand out among Leeds’ increasingly crowded street food offering, but Nam Song is doing just that.
Address: 57-59 New Briggate, Leeds, LS2 8JD
Telephone: 0113 244 4900
Opening hours: Mon-Thurs, 9am-10pm; Fri-Sat, 9am-11pm; Sun, 10am-10pm