Hanoi Naturally - Abu Dhabi
Time Out Says
There is no wall separating us from the mall walkthrough, the sight of shoppers and Reem Island residents wandering 10 feet from us in gym-wear is unusual, but some potted plants and a lively, colourful décor do their best to distract us from the surroundings.
We take a look at the Vietnamese menu and are surprised by the extensive choice on offer. After sipping on some (highly recommended) Hanoi Café homemade lemonade we order the summer rolls and the sweet potato patti to start, followed by the lemongrass tofu and the pan fried duck with a side of water spinach garlic for mains.
We asked for the summer rolls to be vegetarian which are not on the menu, but our friendly waitress tells us this is not a problem. We take this as another positive, as it proves the food is being made fresh and isn’t pre-assembled elsewhere. The rolls are well-cooked, the casing is paper thin and the vegetables inside are crisp and al dente, as they should be. The rolls are served with a sweet sauce which is a little thin for our taste, but the flavours are terrific.
We’re not sure what we were expecting from the sweet potato patti, but what we get is a huge portion of congealed chips welded together and cut into four large pizza-slice shapes. The dish tastes bland and heavy, we only take a couple of bites before deciding we’ve made an ordering error and leaving three quarters of it.
When we taste the duck we’re pleased to find it has typical Southeast Asian flavours, but we’re less enthused by the temperature of the meat. It’s luke warm at best, and because it’s been sliced it’s losing heat fast. We hope that the sauce served alongside the duck in a separate dish is retaining its heat better, so we give it a try, only to find that it is stone cold. We don’t know whether this is by accident or design, but it’s fairly unpleasant. The flavours work well, but the sensation of duck in a cold sauce isn’t one that agrees with our palate.
The tofu is better, however, it is well-cooked and covered in the right amount of hot, flavourful sauce. We eat the whole portion heartily.
The staff at Hanoi Café are great, and we’re sure the soups and salads would be an excellent lunch option for hungry diners, but we won’t be going out of our way to stop by for dinner again any time soon.
The bill (for two):
Summer rolls Dhs18
Potato patti Dhs22
Lemongrass tofu Dhs38
Crispy fried duck Dhs52
Total (excl. service) Dhs130
By Time Out Abu Dhabi staff | 25 Nov 2014
Recommended for you in Restaurants
Protein Bakeshop is helping you give in to healthy cravings for less
Pizza Al Taglio UAE is offering a limited-time delivery deal
Cook up some of the city’s best burgers from home
Get fine dining in your living room