Little Hanoi – Shoreditch

Yes, ok, I know January posting has been light. This is because, like everyone, I was on January detox. It has thus far included a lot of porridge, a lot of experimenting with making soups (ask me about my bitchin’ Tortilla) and a lot of not drinking. It has also included two trips to Pizza East, but let’s not talk about that.

So! Last night was the first night I’ve been to a new restaurant since Christmas. Oh, how I missed it.

I found myself wondering around Shoreditch after going to the absolutely amazing Fitzrovia Radio Hour. (By the way, if you want a fun night out, do go. I can’t recommend it enough.) Anyway, after the show, it was late-ish and Leif wanted Chinese. I couldn’t find anything on my UrbanSpoon iPhone app, but no matter –  we stumbled upon Little Hanoi instead.

Tucked down Curtain Street, Little Hanoi is a small Vietnamese understated hole-in-the-wall. They were open till 11pm and had a full bar, so that was good enough for us.

The menu at Little Hanoi is huge – at least 7 pages long – which makes it difficult to narrow down when you’re absolutely famished and everything looks good. I was pleased to see they had a fairly decent wine list considering what I was expecting, so we ordered a bottle of Viognier.

We had two starters, the Spring Rolls and Salted Squid:

Little Hanoi

Little Hanoi

The spring rolls were pretty good. I wouldn’t say they were bland per se, but they definitely needed a dipping sauce. They luckily came with the brothy kind of Vietnamese sweet and sour, which was very tasty. I thought the roll itself was a bit more egg roll than spring roll. The wrapping was quite thick.

The squid was lovely. It had a really nice mix of peppers, spring onions and onions. Not too oily and not overdone. Only minor complaint is that the breading was also a bit thick. It would have been nicer and it been a bit fluffier.

For my main I went with the Sliced Duck with Ginger and Spring Onion:

Little Hanoi

Not sure what the sauce was on here. I think maybe just a general brown garlic? It didn’t really scream Vietnamese to me, but it was definitely good. The duck may have been slightly chewy, but the ginger+onion combination of flavours made up for it. I slightly worried about my breath after.

Also should mention I got a side of steamed rice with it that I could tell had been sitting around a while. And it was £2. I still find it ridiculous that they can get away with charging that much for something that probably costs them 1p per portion.

Leif went with the Beef Noodles:

little hanoi

This also didn’t scream Vietnamese to me. The noodles were just ok. I thought they needed a load more salt. The beef was the only thing that really added anything to the dish. I did, however put a few noodles with my duck instead of the stale rice – that was brilliant.

Little Hanoi is perfect for what it is – cheap East Asian cuisine, open late and smack-dab in the middle of a neighbourhood full of bars and clubs. I also hear they have a great, extremely cheap lunch buffet. I would come back here again.

Little Hanoi on Urbanspoon

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3 comments

  1. I think the sweet & sour dipping sauce is nuoc cham – made of fish sauce, sugar, lime, chilli and garlic.

    It’s a shame that the Vietnamese restaurants feel the need to fill their menus with the gloopy Chinese-takeaway style hybrids. I usually stick to the noodle soups and salads and it works out better that way.

  2. The lunch buffet is also not particularly vietnamese (spring rolls, chicken wings, chicken curry, beef in black bean…) but it’s useful if you want to fill up on fairly decent stodge.

    I recommend wandering up the Kingsland Road for vietnamese food – an extra 5 minutes walk and some tasty things to eat.

  3. That’s really good to know. I honestly think the only thing Vietnamese on the menu (apart from the squid) was the bun cha. I really should have gone for it. Nothing like noodles and spring rolls and beef and peanuts all together.

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