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:
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:
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:
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.