Review: Anna’s Kitchen, Waigani – PNG Business Advantage

Diners don’t have to go far in Port Moresby to find great Vietnamese food, including noodle bowls, rice paper rolls and savory pancakes. Leilani Stephen visits Anna’s Kitchen in Waigani.

Beef pho. 1 credit

Tucked away inside the central government office compound in Waigani, Anna’s Kitchen is an authentic Vietnamese restaurant with marble floors. The kitchen opened last year, after three years at the Car Club, with Vietnamese-French owner Anna Vellacott’s kitchen becoming a calling card for officials.

One of his signature dishes is beef Pho, a slippery noodle soup made from a broth she boils for 12 to 16 hours, skimming it so well you can see it all – meat, shallots and bean sprouts – in depth.

The Vietnamese herbs that flavor it come from his garden. She also makes a popular ham sandwich called a banh mi, with airy bread she makes from scratch, insisting that store-bought doughy baguette just won’t do.

“It should be hollow and crispy,” she says.

Anna Port Moresby's Kitchen

Anna’s kitchen
owner and chef Anna
Vellacott. 1 credit

The baguettes are only available if you order ahead, but Vellacott plans to bring in two Vietnamese bakers early next year, COVID-19 permitting, to make banh mi a regular menu offer.

I started my visit to the restaurant with goi cuan tom (fresh summer rolls), hearty but light. They are perfect for an aperitif, a fresh and crispy wrap of shrimp, lettuce, cucumber, grated carrot and rice vermicelli, with menthol and lemony notes. They were served with the restaurant’s homemade peanut sauce.

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Then I dove into Pho, a Vietnamese soup popular around the world. Vellacott suggested I dunk the beef in broth in hoisin sauce for extra punch. You can also add basil, chilli, or lemon for extra punch.

Dessert was a sticky date pudding with hot caramel sauce, with a side of cream. It’s moist, not too sweet, and about the size of a cupcake. You can ask for an ice cream or gelato on the side for something richer. There are also French pastries, like chocolate éclairs and salted caramel banana pies. In preparation, a tricolor Vietnamese drink made with red beans, sweet mung beans and green jelly, topped with coconut cream and crushed ice.

Anna’s kitchen at a glance

Phone. 7068 1766
Social Anna’s kitchen
Open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Style Vietnamese cuisine and French pastries, but also burgers and
Essential dishes Summer or spring rolls, bowl of noodles with grilled pork and shaken beef.
Prices Appetizers K20–60, dinners K28–50, dishes on the grill K48–80, desserts K6–25, children’s menus K16–20

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