Yaletown has gained a new foodie addition, thanks to newcomer House Special.
Taking the place of the now shuttered Malt and Marrow (at 1269 Hamilton Street), House Special is a modern Vietnamese restaurant that pairs popular Vietnamese street and market foods, with craft beer, wine, and cocktails.
It’s a family affair over at House Special, where sister and brother duo Victoria and Patrick Do run the restaurant for their parents (who own/operate Green Lemongrass on Kingsway and in Richmond, as well as Broken Rice on East Hastings). Victoria manages the front-of-house, while Patrick works in the kitchen.
Growing up in their family’s restaurant, Patrick has developed House Special’s delectable and rather extensive menu along with Executive Chef Phong Vo, previously at 100 Days, Heirloom, Ebisu, Sanpachi Ramen, Electric Owl, and Broken Rice.
The name “House Special” refers to the ubiquitous Pho Dac Biet (House Special Pho) found on every Vietnamese restaurant menu. “We wanted to really focus on making the best pho and vegan pho we could and make that a mainstay of our menus while keeping the rest of our menu fresh and seasonal,” says Victoria.
The restaurant offers a different menu at lunch and dinner. “For lunch we wanted to present items reminiscent of what you would find in a Vietnamese market,” says Victoria. Therefore diners can expect to discover steaming bowls of pho, Banh Canh Ga (Fried Chicken Noodle Soup), rice bowls, and vermicelli listed.
House Special also prepares Vietnamese Fry Bread–light sesame seed coated buns that are made in-house daily and loaded with different fillings, think duck confit, mushrooms, or Uncle Hing’s Fried Chicken.
At dinner House Special offers a more family-style friendly menu with a range of bar snacks, share plates, and noodle dishes. “Dinner is more refined and modern than lunch while maintaining super familiar Vietnamese flavours,” remarks Victoria.
Small plates include Sticky Ribs, Scallop Tataki, Uncle Hing’s Chicken Wings (a must order), and Banh Xeo Tacos–mini coconut taco crepes topped with seven-spice pork belly, banana blossom, picked carrots, fresh herbs, lettuce, and nuoc cham (a sweet/spicy condiment).
In terms of drinks, the restaurant features a large central bar with nine beer taps, which showcase a variety of local breweries and beers. Working with their bartenders, Nick Carey and Bryan Statham, Victoria and Patrick have developed original Vietnamese-inspired cocktails, like the Mui Ne Garden, which is composed of gin, cucumber, Thai basil, and lemon.
At 1200 square feet (including the kitchen), House Special has inside seating for 50, and outdoor seating for 20 out on the eatery’s front, street-facing patio.
Address: 1269 Hamilton Street, Vancouver