Cafe Hanoi celebrates its 10th birthday this month and the turn of the decade sees the Auckland dining institution on the move. On Wednesday 2nd September, the Britomart Vietnamese restaurant opened its new doors in the bigger, better site of the old 1885 nightclub.
The new restaurant opens into the laneway of the Britomart Hotel and includes a larger dining space, an open kitchen with chef’s table counter seating, a conservatory with windows looking out onto Galway Street, a separate bar and a large private dining room that can accommodate 44 guests (double that of the original private space).
Cafe Hanoi’s new menu has sections for Raw, Bite-Sized, Pho, Meat & Poultry, Salads and Vegetables. Standout dishes include a Vietnamese-style charcuterie board that can be sampled at the bar or table and features a pork and liver pate (a French classic with a distinctly Vietnamese flavour, thanks to fish sauce), Chua Lua (a Vietnamese version of mortadella (pork sausage) steamed in banana leaf) and duck-breast prosciutto (salted with star anise and aged for up to six months), which Houpapa remembers having at Madame Hiens in Hanoi on his very first trip to Vietnam. The platter comes with pickled carrot, daikon and fresh coriander, Gio (Vietnamese ‘butter’ made with egg yolks and oil) and warm banh mi (Vietnamese baguette).
Mains include anise roast duck, chargrilled beef bavette with fish-sauce caramel, pea shoots, watercress and crispy shallots, chargrilled local octopus with green chilli kaffir sauce and dill and New Zealand clams with lemongrass ginger broth and Thai basil.
Desserts are as considered as the rest of Houpapa’s menu and include Bosc pear tarte tartin with palm sugar ice cream; olive-oil cake with lemon gel, lime curd, lemon sorbet and chantilly; and mille feuille with pandan creme.
The drinks list includes a selection of bespoke spritzers, aperitifs and cocktails created by Cafe Hanoi’s in-house mixologist to complement the flavours of the Asian-French inspired food.