My first night in Ha Noi, I was treated to a lovely dinner by my sister and brother-in-law, although "lovely" may be understating it. The company was good, the food was good, the view was good, it was almost perfect except that it was raining and we couldn't hang out for coffee on the balcony where the view was best.
Conveniently situated along the busy Cau Go (ˈkō gȯr) street in the famous Hoan Kiem district, Cau Go Vietnamese Cuisine boasts a magnificent view of the equally (if not even more) famous lake of the same name, the Hoan Kiem lake. You might want to make that reservation early though, because apparently, the place is always full. It is hard enough to make short notice seat reservations. It is almost impossible to walk in.
I was a sucker for the ambience. Apart from the winning view, the interior was well decorated with shabby French-Vietnamese chic accents (if there's ever something like that) combined with modern installations that surprisingly mixed well, pretty mood lighting, large windows of course, a pretty spiral staircase and an eclectic collection of cute, charming knick knacks scattered all over the place.
Of course, we were going to have Vietnamese for dinner. Not only was it my first and only Sunday night in Viet Nam, I am also always on the lookout for the best servings of Nem Ran in the world. But we were not stopping at the spring rolls. Check out the rest of the menu here.
Images from top left, clockwise: SALAD & STARTERS | deep fried traditional vietnamese spring rolls, marinated lotus bud with prawn and pork, deep fried seafood spring roll, deep fried tofu with crispy lemon grass and chili.
Images from top left, clockwise: ENTRÉES & DESSERTS | deep fried crispy pork bacon with chili, caramelized pork spare rib with black pepper, deep fried banana with coconut ice cream, stewed beef shank with ginger
Writing them down now, I just realized that's a lot of deep fried dishes. That planned mile jog around the Hoan Kiem lake that never materialized now sounds like it would have been the best idea in the world.
It was an amazing meal. I know I'm too old to get free dinners but thanks to my sister (ate Contessa) and my brother-in-law (kuya Ryan) for one of the best Vietnamese cuisine dinners I've ever had.
Ha Noi, I hope you're ready for me this week!