Melbourne Restaurant Reviews: The Very Very Hungry Caterpillar

YES, this is yet another Melbourne food blog!

Hanoi Hannah

180 High Street
Windsor VIC 3181
+61 3 9939 5181
http://www.hanoihannah.com.au

I’m kinda over overpriced hipster-ised cuisines but when the cuisine in question is Vietnamese, well, it’s hard for me to say ‘no’ to it. So when Daisy suggested that we catch up for dinner at Hanoi Hannah after work, I was there faster than the time it takes my maniac Vietnamese boyfriend to drive to work.

wp1

I love Hanoi Hannah’s tagline, ‘sex, drugs and rice paper rolls.’ If I hadn’t read up the origin of the restaurant’s name prior to my visit, I would have also thought that it was a famous Hanoian prostitute’s name. Rather, Hanoi Hannah was the name given to an English-speaking radio broadcaster in Hanoi. Given her anti-war messages, though, I bet a lot of GIs would have muttered names not far removed from ‘prostitute’ whenever they heard her voice on the radio so my guess probably isn’t so far-fetched.

wp2

We didn’t come with a booking so we were lucky to secure a table for four by the window, overlooking High Street. With Daisy, Dave and I having settled down quickly with the menus, we only had to wait for Ricky to rock up before starting. Unfortunately, he was stuck in traffic but gave us the go ahead to start without him.

wp3

While Dave had a beer, Daisy and I ordered young coconut juice. At $6, I thought the coconuts were a bit of a rip-off especially given they sell them for around $2 at the supermarket. However, there was seriously no other drink that could make me happier on such a warm evening.

wp4

We started off with some classic prawn and pork rice paper rolls. Hanoi Hannah sell them in pairs for $5 so we ordered two servings. Dipped in hoison sauce, these rolls were light yet full of fresh flavour, giving me the health kick I so desperately needed.

wp5

We also shared a plate of Hanoi spring rolls ($8). If you’re not too familiar with them, they’re pretty much like normal Vietnamese spring rolls but instead of the flour-based wrappers used in most Vietnamese restaurants, rice paper sheets are used. As the results, the skins are airy and crispier. The spring rolls were delicious and I loved the pork and wood ear fungus filling. What did let me down was the nước chấm dipping sauce. Bland, bland, bland – it was like they forgot to add the all important fish sauce in it!

wp6

We couldn’t resist ordering some pork belly sliders (two for $8; we ordered two lots to give us four). Slices of tender pork belly, lettuce, pickled carrots and cucumber rested between two brioche buns. A deliciously tangy sauce, which Dave reckoned tasted like McDonald’s Big Mac sauce, brought everything together. Pretty, pretty good.

wp7

We each ordered our own mains. Daisy ordered the Vietnamese slaw with tender chicken ($11), a vibrant mix of cabbage, carrot, mint, basil and shredded chicken. It was a fresh and light dish, but by no means lacking in taste. I mentally added the dish to my list of ‘must make for lunch’ dishes.

wp8

Dave ordered the vermicelli salad with lemongrass beef skewers ($11). While it was good, the general consensus was that the same dish from any dime-a-dozen Vietnamese restaurant in Springvale was better in that it was tastier and had more soul.

wp9

Those of you who know me would not be surprised by my order, a bowl of beef pho ($9.50). There was also the option to go vegetarian with the mixed mushroom pho ($10.50). While I do love mushrooms, I just couldn’t fathom the idea of a mushroom pho (whatthehell, man?! Whatthehell?!) so beef, it was. Now, I couldn’t decide whether to give the pho two thumbs up. It definitely didn’t taste ‘authentic’ but it wasn’t bad. It actually tasted like the pho I once made at home using the slow cooker. Now, whether or not that is a good thing is open for interpretation. Suffice to say that I prefer a gritty bowl of no nonsense pho from Springvale or Footscray.

Ricky never ended up arriving in time for dinner – the staff kicked us out because we were hogging the table for too long and there were heaps of people waiting. Fair enough. Otherwise, they were lovely throughout our entire meal and offered to doggy-bag Ricky’s food for us. The three of us agreed that when it comes to Vietnamese food, nothing beats a meal from a ‘legit’ Vietnamese restaurant. However, Hanoi Hannah would be my first preference for Vietnamese if I wanted Hanoi spring rolls at 10pm before a clubbing session on Chapel Street.

Hanoi Hannah on Urbanspoon

11 Comments on Hanoi Hannah

  1. neeno
    February 24, 2013 at 07:39 (2 years ago)

    Nom! Any garlic or msg in the food? is is a safe place to take a date??

    Reply
    • libishski
      February 24, 2013 at 18:21 (2 years ago)

      No MSG! There is garlic though, but not too much. I’d say it’s safe for a nice date but don’t expect excellent authentic Viet food!

      Reply
  2. Ames
    February 24, 2013 at 17:10 (2 years ago)

    Now pork belly sliders are not something you’d see in your average Viet restaurant lol! Looks good though and the colours of Daisy’s Viet slaw is beautiful :) If only I drove to work then I could actually head down there afterwards…

    Reply
    • libishski
      February 24, 2013 at 18:22 (2 years ago)

      Haha yeah, the downside of being city workers!

      Reply
  3. Daisy@Nevertoosweet
    February 24, 2013 at 23:36 (2 years ago)

    Oh oh oh I remember going there with you and dave :) it’s was great! Had heaps of fun! Poor Ricky didn’t make it in the end cuz I know he would’ve to try the sliders hehe so funny I can see my hands and camera in the back of your photos! SORRY you should’ve just told me and I would’ve moved! :D

    Love all your photos! Mine are…. let’s say I think I wanna go back take all new ones before I blog about it SIGHHHH :P

    Reply
    • libishski
      February 25, 2013 at 22:47 (2 years ago)

      Hahaha pfft, don’t care about hands/camera getting in the way of photos. All good!

      That said, I get slightly pissed off when the bf (or other people) photobomb pics on purpose!

      Reply
  4. Hannah
    February 25, 2013 at 01:03 (2 years ago)

    That slaw looks incredible. And also very similar to what I indeed did make for lunch last week.

    Signed,
    another non-prostitute Hannah

    Reply
  5. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    February 25, 2013 at 09:12 (2 years ago)

    I find some phos like that-good but they elude that thing that some have-that earthy, full flavour :) And yes sometimes, only fresh coconut water will do!

    Reply
  6. Iron Chef Shellie
    February 27, 2013 at 12:59 (2 years ago)

    Loving your photos lately!
    It’s on my list to try… freakin list grows faster than …. fuck i can’t think of a metaphor.. you know what I meant though!

    Reply
  7. leaf (the indolent cook)
    March 2, 2013 at 13:05 (1 year ago)

    Yeah I’m noticing quite a few trendy Vietnamese restaurants around these days! Miss Chu opened recently on Toorak Road too and it always seems quite busy.

    Reply
  8. msihua
    March 2, 2013 at 20:13 (1 year ago)

    I’ve been meaning to get my ass here to try it out since my manager raved on and on about it. I must get here ASAP it seems.. perhaps wearing hipster clothing will help me!

    Reply

Leave a reply