By: Jason Freeze – www.ninenorth.ca
There’s a new local restaurant in town! Nestled right beside the Sanderson Centre in Downtown Brantford, Nine North – Viet-Thai Cuisine has been stirring up some community chatter and serving out some great food.
Still fairly new to the community, Nine North opened their doors in early May of 2018 by owners Tam and Rath Nguyen. Their idea was to offer and authentic and fresh style of both Vietnamese and Thai food.
Tam, who primarily focuses on the kitchen, hasn’t always been a chef. During his construction days, he and the other workers would always eat out. But he came to notice that there were only a few Viet and Thai places in the area. And he thought that there was always something missing in the authenticity of the dishes. Tam had always enjoyed food and found it hard to find the exact taste that he was looking for. So, he decided he wanted to start creating authentic Viet and Thai dishes of his own.
Having very little background in the culinary business, he knew it would be hard. But he had the passion and drive to see his goal come to life. After studying with a master to learn proper techniques, he started to create his own, unique dishes. Tam didn’t just want to copy a recipe, he wanted to create something of his own.
This way, Tam has been able to go above and beyond with his dishes. He creates unique and personal selections, but he’s also not afraid to make changes to his food. As Tam says, “Each day we meet to see what we can make better. There’s no such thing as this is good enough, there’s always room to make things better. That’s what Nine North is.” As he continued to say, it’s all about changing and improving to create the best possible experience.
As a testament to their ever-improving goal, Tam mentioned that since their opening they have changed their base sauce four times already. And their spring rolls for example have changed six times since then.
In order to keep up with his high-quality dishes, Tam also makes sure that each ingredient is fresh and flavourful. He doesn’t just go with the cheap cuts of meat or low-priced veggies, he makes sure to get quality meats and different veggies like asparagus.
As we chatted, Tam even gave me a lesson about tea. Their teas come specifically from China in the higher elevations. This helps as there are less bugs and therefore reduces pesticides. So the tea is much better for you. He explained, “Our tea is loose tea in tea bags – it’s more expensive but has a better taste. It’s real tea, rather than a ‘flavour bag.’”
All of these selections and continual improvements help to create the captivating aromas and delicious foods that Nine North has come to be known for. Some of their most popular dishes are the Specialty Soups, Rice Combo, various Stir Fries, and of course the Pad Thai. And as the temperatures continue to drop, Tam suspects that his soups will become a ‘hot’ seller.
Just as Tam has infused premiere quality flavours into his food, he and his wife have also infused some of their culture and history into the restaurant as well. One of the main focuses in Vietnamese culture is eating and cooking together. And as you can imagine, this delves right into the heart of family and friendships. So both Tam and Rath wanted to bring that out for their guests. Also, the name Nine North is a reference to where Tam grew up. Nine degrees north of the equator.
Tam and Rath are excited to be connecting all of our cultures together. They enjoy a sense of community and want to give back to the community as much as possible. They have also felt that sense of community since opening their doors downtown too. Tam mentioned, “Brantford is a homey town with a good group of people. Everyone is supportive of one another and everyone is working together to bring people to the downtown.” Tam also thanks all of their customers for coming in. He’s grateful for their support and their feedback as the suggestions always help them to become better.
So if you’re looking for a fresh, flavourful and authentic experience head on down to Nine North at 86 Dalhousie Street. It’s sure to be a unique experience!