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We went to Little Hanoi in Shoreditch for dinner; unusually for us we let our fellow dinners chose the location. The chosen spot was a little Vietnamese restaurant in Shoreditch and as control freaks, we had to check the website and give it a once over before we approved; it looked good we had to admit with a wide variety of authentic looking dishes. We also knew it must be good as we had walked past the restaurant on numerous occasions and there had been queues.

As we approached we took a left turning which was not the way of the restaurant that we had in mind, we started to panic a little as we started to walk down a back street as we had the dreaded feeling this was not the restaurant we had approved of; but we shook this feeling off determined it must be a problem with our phones GPS. As it happened it was the wrong restaurant and was distraught when we walked up to this place.

It clearly must have been a shop in a previous life with the large shop window. As we walked in there there was 1970’s wooden tables crammed into the large restaurant. There was a small electric heater by the side of the door and the décor looked like Del Boy and Rodders had had a go at the decorating. Needless to say we were not impressed.

When seated we asked about the set menu and was told that we could not order this that day, we were furious, now it was our fellow diners turn to sweat. To be honest his panic calmed us and he told us that we could go to another restaurant of our choice down the road (The Princess of Shoreditch). We refused as firstly we would have needed to book and secondly we had booked tickets for the cinema, so we just huffed and sighed. We managed to calm ourselves the only way we knew how and ordered a bottle of sparkling wine. Phew! We had a couple of gulps and felt a little better.
As we couldn’t order the set menu, we chose a mango salad with a fish sauce dressing with king prawns and our friend ordered the Vietnamese spring rolls. Both came out rapidly and were large in size. Our mango salad was huge and so delicious. The mango was only just ripe so that it wasn’t overly juicy and complemented the slithers of carrot, courgette and beansprouts perfectly. The butterfly king prawns were fresh, meaty and plentiful. The spring rolls had clearly just come out of the fryer as they were hot and crisp, unlike those that are luke warm and going soft. We hated to admit it but it was lovely.

For main course we ordered the “Campfire Sirloin Steak” in a soy based sauce with leek, onions, celery, carrots and garnished with coriander. This was served at our table in a bowl and plate with clear liquid underneath. The liquid was then set on fire at our table which was a real surprise and nice addition. This meant that the stew was literally bubbling for around 30 seconds before we could eat it. The meat had clearly been marinated in the soy and lemongrass for a couple of hours and was so tender it was delightful. We ordered this with fragrant rice that was cooked well but lacked any flavour or ‘fragrance’ for that matter. Our friend ordered the “House Special Pho” with beef, chicken and pork in a clear broth, the noodles were thick and al dente and the meat was succulent.

Although the decor was rather faded and 70’s in style this place made up for it in its service, authenticity and quality. To be honest who needs uber stylish décor when the food tastes that great. We would walk by this restaurant without a second glance but it just shows that you cannot judge a book by its cover.

As a result Sex Drugs and Bacon Rolls gives Little Hanoi:

            Food                       Atmosphere                      Service

3 Stars1 Star3 Stars

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