My last visit to Hanoi was in its previous avatar at Phoenix Market City in Whitefield. I truly enjoyed the food but found it an insurmountable task to frequent the place thanks to the time it takes to ‘travel’ to that part of the City.
When I saw the ‘opening soon’ banner at namma Koramangala a few weeks ago, visiting it was something I was definitely looking forward to. On a lazy Saturday afternoon, fellow foodie and good friend, Sudeshna Reddy and I decided to visit the place.
What we ordered:
Sup gung ca Chua: a simple tomato ginger soup spiked with the flavour of star anise. Simple flavours and pretty decent but didn’t impress much.
Cha la lot: Betel Leaf Wraps: Traditionally made with beef but cleverly adapted to suit vegetarians by adding a combination of mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and a hint of garlic. The Dish was grilled very well with the betel leaves providing excellent bottom notes. Loved it.
The Tamarind Set (Not in menu but can be served upon request): The Tamarind Set is a single portion meal consisting of Vietnamese Turmeric Rice served with Vietnamese Tamarind Gravy. Absolutely superb combination with the Turmeric in the Rice shining wonderfully without overpowering the rest of the he flavours in the rice. The use of fresh Turmeric had a certain pungency which was superbly complemented by the sourness of the Tamarind gravy. The gravy also had a healthy dose of lemongrass which actually gave the gravy a two-dimensional flavour.
The Vietnamese Set (Not in Menu but can be served upon request): The Vietnamese Set is another single portion meal that consisting of their signature Coconut Rice and Vietnamese Curry. First up, a special mention of the Coconut rice. I’m, usually, not very enthusiastic of dishes with coconut in them but this dish was special. It was made with some excellent quality jasmine rice steamed with finely chopped vegetables and coconut milk. The result was a fine dish with just the right amount of creaminess and stickiness. This, when combined with the curry was a treat to the senses. The Vietnamese curry powder which is the star of the curry was a heady mix of coriander seeds, turmeric, bay leaves, cinnamon, fennel, cloves, nutmeg, garlic powder and chilli powder.
Note: The reason both these combinations aren’t on the menu is because they are still being tested for their acceptability as a single meal. You can, of course, order them separately on the menu, too.
Vietnamese Coffee : Strong filter coffee (with Arabica beans from the Highlands of Vietnam) served with condensed milk. A perfect way to complete the meal.
Basil and pineapple ice cream: Good flavours of both items playing hide and seek with your taste buds.
A conversation with the owner Nirav Rajani revealed a lot about how vegetarian food is scarce in Vietnam with even their broths being made with beef stock. Adapting authentic dishes to suit Indian palates (especially vegetarians) proved to be a challenge that they readily accepted. And I give them very high marks for delivering superlative food.
Another interesting offering that they’ve been keen on promoting is the hot pot concept wherein a broth is bright to your table and the ingredients can be handpicked to suit your palate.
The service is pretty good but we didn’t really check how accustomed they were to explaining the menu. Last but not the least, the restaurant has plenty of dishes for vegetarians (nearly 35% of their menu) so there’s plenty to keep you busy for at least a few visits.
Our meal amounted to Rs.1500 including all taxes and charges amd a 10% discount which I believe is excellent for the quality and portion sizes.
Overall, an experience that we cherished from the word go.
Hanoi is located opposite Paradise Biriyani on 80ft road, 4th block, Koramangala.
Here’s wishing them all the very best and a hearty welcome to Koramangala.