Hanoi Hanoi, an authentic Vietnamese restaurant based on Capel Street, offers eccentric interiors, fresh dishes and refreshing cocktails. Specialising in Bun Cha, charcoal-grilled seafood and meat dishes, they also have plenty of options for vegans and vegetarians – really, their menu has something for everyone, serving dishes Hanoi style.
We recently paid them a visit to try their food and drinks, and here’s what we thought.
Upon walking in, we were immediately met with a colourful array of decorations that will put any diner at ease. Beautiful flowers, brightly coloured lanterns, a fish tank and some unique cultural decorations unlike anything I’ve really seen before.
After being greeted by the friendly staff and shown to our seats, we were presented with a leather-bound menu showcasing some delicious-sounding options. A short list of starters is followed by a selection of Bún (noodle dishes), Phó (noodle soups), some mains and chef specials. One menu to note for diners who want to save a little whilst still enjoying a meal out here is their Hanoi Special menu. Coming in at just €22 per person (available between Tuesdays and Thursdays, and on Sundays), you can choose out of 3 listed starters and a larger selection of main course dishes, appropriate for meat eaters or vegetarians.
I opted for the lychee homemade lemonade for my drink of choice. Presented in an almost vase-like glass, you certainly get what you pay for – this drink lasted me the entire meal. A little on the sweeter side, the lemonade was sparkling, zingy and definitely a must-try. They have a few other lemonade options for the non-drinkers out there, switching it up from the regular fizzy drinks and sparkling water normally available to us. A range of cocktails are also up for grabs, as well as some wines to choose from, and if you’re paying Hanoi Hanoi a visit between Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2 cocktails come in at only €15, and 2 for €20 on Fridays and Saturdays.
The starters, to me, excited me the most. Crispy spring rolls, lemongrass wings and prawn tempura… dreamy. We opted for the tiger prawn summer rolls, and the prawn mango salad. The summer rolls were standard, nothing out of the ordinary. The order comes with 2 large summer rolls filled with prawns and veggies, but the dipping sauce is what made this dish shine. Tangy, refreshing and slightly spicy, it certainly elevated it.
The prawn mango salad was a much larger portion than expected, and came with a handful of grilled prawns, thinly shaved cucumber and crinkle-cut mango, all tossed in a tangy spice with some peanuts sprinkled on top. It was a refreshing dish, but the mangos were slightly underripe, rendering a crunchier-than-expected texture. However, it would certainly hit the spot on a warm day. We also ordered some Thai prawn crackers – these were delicious and were great to snack on in between courses (we ate a little too many, admittedly).
For the mains, we were enticed by a number of dishes like the Fire Avocado Curry with fire tiger prawns and tempura avocado, the Cá Chua Ngot (grilled seabream) and the Com Rang Cua (spicy crab fried rice), but we opted for the Phó Bò Tái (beef noodle soup) and the Pinot Seafood which comes with a selection of seafood in a satay sauce. The portion of Phó was shockingly huge, and after I was too full to take another bite, it looked like I had barely made a dent in it, so make sure to come hungry! The broth was flavourful and comforting – perfect for the colder Irish weather. A little on the difficult side to eat, as the dish came with plenty of noodles and it was a battle between choosing to have a bite of noodles or a spoonful of soup – a larger ladle that would fit a bit of everything would be an easy fix. A lot of brightness in this dish came from the from the abundance of fresh coriander and green onions, but the beef was certainly the star of this soup. It comes a little on the rarer side and cooks slowly in the warm broth, staying tender and never getting chewy or tough. This dish is the definition of a hug in a bowl.
The Pinot Seafood came with fire scallops, tiger prawns, calamari and seasonal fish, all tossed in an exotic satay sauce, and comes with a bowl of rice on the side. The sauce was not particularly reminiscent of satay, but it was creamy and enjoyable. Again, the portion is large and will certainly fill you up, even without the rice on the side, and if you’re a seafood lover, it would make sense to order this.
Of course, we have to finish off with something sweet, and the dessert options ranged from some classics like cheesecakes and waffles, to some more Viet-style dishes like coconut soup with icy yogurt. The hot waffle with whiskey caramel ice cream caught our eye, and although the waffle itself was a little more on the cakey side, the ice cream packed a punch and was a great way to finish off the meal.
Hanoi Hanoi is a great spot if you’re after an authentic taste of Vietnam, and if you’re coming here with a group of friends, there are plenty of dishes to choose from that are sure to satisfy each person at the table. With their special menu and cocktail deals for those midweek saver options, people on a budget are sure to be delighted. Although a few of the dishes could use a little tweak here and there, the food at Hanoi Hanoi is fresh and tasty, with huge portion sizes, and certainly warrants a visit.
While we were guests at Hanoi Hanoi for this visit, the bill would have come in at just under €90 total, given that our dishes were not ordered from the Hanoi Special menu.