Little Hanoi Vietnamese Restaurant 22 January 2010
147 Curtain Road
London EC2A 3QE
Tel: 0207 729 6868
Rule no. 1 at this little family-run institution: stay away from the bog-standard Chinese trappings on the menu, get head waiter Michael Luong to help you order correctly and your tastebuds are in for the feast of their lives! Super-talented chef Phai (Michael's father) dishes up mouthwatering, robust Vietnamese dishes using the freshest of seafood, meat and vegetables paired with the most flavourful of herbs and spices that will leave you salivating for more.
Located above the club Plastic People on Curtain Road (near but not on the "Pho Mile" that is Kingsland Road), there is no doubt whatsoever that Little Hanoi more than holds its own. I will leave the pictures to speak for themselves :)
Grilled Scallops on Shell (£10.50 for 4 pcs- they looked so good Arivind ate one before I could take a picture!)- DIVINE, an absolute must-try. Topped with crunchy peanuts and a luscious tangy sauce,
no wonder some call it the best scallops in London!
Fresh Summer Rolls (£3)- packed with prawns, crunchy lettuce and carrots with a
thick hoisin dip. Good and generous, but pales in comparison to the
scallops (but then again most things would...)
King Prawn Sweet Potato Pancake (£6.80)- fabulously fried,
crisp and crunchy on the outside and chewy inside.
Grilled Venison (£12)- Mmm mmm MMM! So tender, so moist, so deliciously charred
yet sweet yet peppery all at the same time... a true work of art. Little Hanoi claims to be
the only place that serves this divine creation in the whole haven of Viet cuisine
that is Shoreditch- if that isn't reason enough to go I don't know what is!
Grilled Salmon in Banana Leaf (£12)- Praise. The. Heavens. OMG. I thought the
scallops and venison were my favourites, till waiter Michael plonked this gorgeous
melt-in-the-mouth slab of perfectly cooked flaky pink goodness with a beautiful
fragrant sauce in front of us. Totally SUBLIME with hot steamed rice.
A new discovery in July 2010- Phai's genius creation of deep fried giant scallops with Parma ham.
Priced the same as the previous scallop dish if I'm not mistaken.
Vietnamese Pork Chops (portion here shown for table of 10, can't be certain of the price as it was for a party)-
grilled to sweet succulent perfection
Some crab dish (again for a table of 10)- no idea what it's called but it comes with a
mouthwatering spicy sweet gravy!
Vietnamese pho- personally I still prefer Song Que's version of this, but Phai's
is delicious and comforting nonetheless.
Little Hanoi don't do desserts (traditionally the Vietnamese finish meals with fresh fruit or liquor), but you can rest assured you'd be too stuffed anyway to want anything else. If you have the opportunity to give 24-hours notice in advance of your visit, I would also highly recommend these two other specialities which they are happy to arrange for you on special order as long as you call beforehand:
Dover Sole Boat (£50)- fleshy chunks of dover sole served on a crispy "boat"
made of the fish's skeleton, deep-fried til it's crunchy and edible
Lobster (£70)- can't remember the exact name sorry, but it is YUM.
If you've previously walked into Little Hanoi for nothing more than their cheap lunch buffet or Chinese standards, I implore you to return and go for the ala carte specialities as this is where their true strengths lie. Good food at good prices- GO TRY IT!
Yummy in our tummy!:)