Little Slice Of Hanoi
I've been mourning the loss of the Vietnamese Noodle Bar ever since it shut its doors a couple of years ago…
It was a funny one – attracting its fair share of bad reviews over the years – but I loved it. It introduced me to a whole new style of eating and some amazing flavour combinations as it was the first Vietnamese restaurant in Sheffield. In fact I'd say it was the first casual Asian café style restaurant Sheffield had seen…
Since then we've had Pho 68 – and even though it's been open a while (and it receives lots of good reviews) I've not been yet. I don't know why, and it's on the 'to do' list, but there are so many places to try and Pho has been pushed to the back of the list. All the same I was glad to hear that another Vietnamese option was opening up in Sheffield – especially when an invite to the launch landed in my in-box.
Little Hanoi is located on London Road; a real haven for any food lover. You'll find some excellent Japanese, Chinese and Turkish restaurants down there along with some of my all time favourites. And as Little Hanoi is owned by the same family who own Wasabisabi, I have high hopes that this new addition will become one of my favourites.
The restaurant is bright and clean with a small bar to the entrance and…. wait for it…. karaoke booths upstairs! Yep, you can go for a meal and have a sing song at the same time. The booths are available for hire and there's full waiter service so I think these will go down brilliantly for birthday celebrations and hen dos.
Stunning waitresses were dressed up to the nines and were chatty and smiley too which is always good to see. The fact that they were swanning around the place with huge platters of food was even nicer to see.
Pork and Prawn Fresh Summer Rolls were rolls made from rice paper stuffed with cold pork, prawns and lots of fresh herbs including mint. They were really fresh tasting, light and healthy; perfect for summer. Diners can also choose rolls with prawn alone and tofu. In fact that's common theme throughout the menu, you pick the dish and then the meat/fish or vegetarian option.
Next up was a Siagon Pancake. I remember having something similar at the Vietnamese noodle bar and I'm glad to have found them again. The pancakes had a similar texture to a thin omelette. I can't remember what these were stuffed with but I do remember that there was a mas of lettuce, a bit too much for me, but I'd happily have them again.
Papaya Salad was amazing, and right up my street. I'm always tempted by the salads in Bann Thai (not Vietnamese, I know) but they are just way too hot for me as there's a lot of fresh chilli involved. This, however, is perfect. The chilli kick is there, but it's just the right amount. Papaya, carrots and herbs make for a really simple and healthy salad and I think I'll be trying the one with prawn when I return, although there is a rather tasty rare beef salad that may sway my choice.
Crispy Vietnamese Spring Rolls were really crispy and although we were served the vegetarian option they tasted quite meaty so I really enjoyed them. We then moved onto the main section of the menu and, sadly, my recollection of the names of these dishes has worn a little thin.
I do know that we had a fish dish and given the level of heat I think it was either Pangasius Fillets or Crispy Tilapoa Fish. Either way, the fish was perfectly cooked, and, again there was the right level of heat to the dish.
A couple of stir fries followed, and although they were tasty, I that the starters were the most memorable dishes of the lot. Having said that mains of Hot Clay Pot Stew (a spicy dish of chicken/prawn or aubergine and tofu served with chilli and lemongrass in a coconut sauce topped with peanuts) and the traditional Rare Beef Pho Noodle Soup both sound very tempting.
In fact, the whole menu reads really nicely and unlike a lot of restaurants of this ilk, it's quite concise too. Better still most of the starters are around a fiver and there's nothing over £9 in the mains meaning that you could get two courses for under a tenner. There are a couple of desserts, but as one of them is a fruit salad and the other is a choice of banana, pineapple or apple fritters you might want to concentrate on the savouries.
Little Hanoi is at 216-218 London Road, Sheffield, S2 4LW. Phone (0114) 2583836.