One of Britomart’s first restaurants, Cafe Hanoi and its vibrant Vietnamese fare has been popular with the punters since opening its red door over five years ago. This week the elusive corner spot was visited by three of the five Hadlow Girls, the sisters behind popular food and lifestyle blog, ‘What’s Yummy’, and their verdict is in.
A reprieve from the inner-city humdrum of computers and copy-machines, Cafe Hanoi is a step into the streets of Vietnam and the authentic flavours of its local cuisine. Set discreetly on a street corner in Britomart, Cafe Hanoi is a traditional, inner-city gem. Within the exposed-concrete walls of the restaurant and below spherical paper lanterns, people sit atop ruby-red seats, drinking daring cocktails and sharing exotic dishes throughout the day.
We visited earlier this week for dinner and were easily seated on arrival at a table near the windows where we could watch the burgeoning glow of nearby buildings as the sun slipped out of the sky. A self-appointed cocktail connoisseur, Victoria began with an excellent and robust creation called ‘The Shaman’ – made with chilli infused vodka, ginger liqueur, honey, and chilli and ginger syrup with fresh lime.
The prompt service meant we were quickly in the throws of selecting from the extensive number of shared plates available from the menu. We would highly recommend trying their tiger prawn cutlets coated in young green rice with house chilli sauce ($23) and the spicy salad of master stock poached chicken with green papaya, garlic, chilli and crushed peanuts ($15) – both of which are a must whenever we visit. We also loved the flavoursome wok seared beef skirt with pickled mustard greens and fried garlic and crispy shallots ($20), along with a spicy yellow curry with baby carrots, kumara kale, seasonal greens and peanuts ($21) and a smaller dish of shredded pumpkin sautéed with spring onion and peanuts ($8).
Never ones to skip dessert, the lime curd with soft meringue, cinnamon tuile and meringue ice cream ($12.50) complemented the flavours in the main meals superbly, while the hot, soy milk doughnuts with cinnamon sugar and caramel sauce ($2) were simply, very tasty. Treat yourself to a night out or catch-up with friends, and reacquaint yourself with old favourites at this popular, city destination.
Laura, Rachel & Victoria, The Hadlow Girls
Visit yummyauckland.com to meet the girls, find local and international dining destinations, recipes and more.