Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Cafe Hanoi

This was to be my last outing before having Charlie but, because he came two weeks early, we had to wait over a month before making a visit to Cafe Hanoi. Despite having visited before, we walked straight past the bright red front doors of Cafe Hanoi. 

I hadn't taken an infant to a restaurant before so I called ahead to make sure it was OK. The staff on the phone were very accommodating and made a booking for five people and a pram. 

The staff helped us with getting the stroller up the stairs and led us into a spacious room that was filled with natural light. Despite bring right next to a busy road, we felt miles away from the big city.

The Virgins: The Herbalist - $9.00, Sweet Spiced Mule - $9.00
We started with a few mocktails while we perused the menu. I ordered The Herbalist because I love Chi (the drink). It came infused with thai basil, coriander, lime, and passion fruit which gave it a very Asian feel. I wish it came with more Chi as the passion fruit syrup was too sweet for me - it tasted better once the ice had melted a bit. 

Ashley ordered the sweet spiced mule, a variation of the Moscow Mule with the addition of cinnamon and other sweet spies. The drink was refreshing yet warming. 

Pho bo- $6.00 per individual serve
We started with individual servings of pho. Although the menu item is "pho bo", we got pieces of chicken instead of beef. Nevertheless, the chicken was juicy and the noodles had a great bite. Tying it all together is the light, yet flavoursome broth. The addition of lime and pickled chili made the whole dish sing. 

Master stock chicken with green papaya - $10.50
The fresh papaya salad was wonderfully light while packing a big flavour punch. I thought there was a great ratio of tender master stock poached chicken to papaya, and crushed peanuts added a great nuttiness to the dish.

Hanoi Style Grilled Pork - $27.00
I thought that thBún Chà was a very harmonious dish. The fatty pork had a delicious char on the outside and was balanced by the pickled vegetables and fresh herbs. The nuoc cham sauce had a lovely flavour which tied all the ingredients together into the rice noodles (the left over sauce was also nice mixed into our rice).

Caramelised Pork Belly Hotpot - $27.00
We could smell the fragrant dish before it even arrived at our table. Each piece of pork belly was incredibly tender and beautifully caramalised. The sweet sticky sauce had a hint of coconut and was also a great sauce for spooning on our rice.

Soft Shell Crab with Spicy Tamarind Sauce - $28.00
My eyes gravitated toward this dish as soon as I opened the menu and I was not disappointed. Each piece of crab was coated in a light crunchy batter and came with a delicious tangy sauce that made my salivate. This was my favourite dish.

Lime Curd with Soft Meringue - $12.50
The Lime Curd and Meringue sounded nice on the menu but I felt that the dessert was overall quite sickly sweet. There was simply not enough tangy lime curd to balance out the sweet sticky meringue and the meringue ice cream. The delicate tuille provided a nice texture change but, again, there was not enough of it to counter the meringue.

Sage Pudding with Mango Sorbet - $12.50
This dessert was a nice modernisation of the traditional sago pudding, with a mango sorbet and fresh pieces of mango and coconut. The warm and cool elements of the dish balanced each other out nicely and the palm sugar drizzle was delicious.

Báhn trôi Tàu - $12.00
Báhn trôi Tàu is the Vietnamese equivalent of the Japanese Mochi or the Chinese Tang Yuan. The giant glutinous rice flour dumplings were filled with a sweet black sesame paste and sat in a coconut scented broth. The sandy sesame contrasted well with the soft chewy pastry and I thoroughly enjoyed having a warm dessert to follow our mains.

Hot Soy Milk Doughnut - $2.50
We ordered a number of the Hot Soy Milk Doughnuts for the table. Dusted with cinnamon sugar, the doughnuts were very generous in size and came with an equally generous bowl of caramel sauce (the sauce was so good that each bowl was licked clean!). I was not able to taste any soy milk flavours from the doughnut, but that didn't detract from the deliciousness at all. At a mere $2.50 each, we all agreed that this would make an inexpensive treat.

Our first outing turned out to be very successful - little Charlie slept through the whole meal and we were able to enjoy every dish to the fullest. The staff were super attentive and every dish was delicious.

Cafe Hanoi can be found at the Excelsior Building, corner of Galway Street & Commerce Street, Britomart, Auckland 1010