Sunday, 3 March 2013

Little Hanoi, Sheffield

Yesterday I agree to act as taxi service for A, as he wanted to visit a few electronic stores around Sheffield in his quest to find a new stereo system. I understand that you can only research so much online, and it’s better to see things in ‘the flesh’ and press a few buttons before making a decision. I was more than happy to accompany him on his research mission, particularly as he promised to buy me lunch as a thank you.

As we ended up in the London Road area of Sheffield, we decided to try a fairly new Vietnamese café called Little Hanoi. I’ve heard good things about this place both from co-workers and reviews online. I love anything with noodles and a bit of spice and had been longing to visit them and try the food for several weeks. When eating out, I much prefer places that make food I probably couldn’t recreate so successfully at home. Pizza and pasta places (gluten free) are fine, but I often end up thinking I could have produced the same, if not better, myself at home for half the price. So I was delighted when A agreed to give Little Hanoi a go. Plus anything that can be eaten with chopsticks is always a bonus.

Once inside and perusing the menu I was delighted to see that they had some really authentic sounding dishes and I liked how each dish had its own description, rather than being a generic noodle dish that you added your own topping to. As I’m coeliac, I spend a few minutes quizzing the waitress about the ingredients that went into the dish I was interested in – Pho xao – stir fried flat noodles. She didn’t really understand ‘coeliac’ or ‘no gluten’ but once I conveyed ‘no flour, no wheat, no soy sauce’ she understood and confirmed that the flat noodle dish was made with rice noodles made with only rice, no wheat. She also informed the chef I wanted the dish made with no soy sauce and confirmed this again on bringing the cooked dish to the table. (I don’t actually know if the dish originally contained soy sauce, but as this style of cuisine often uses it as a seasoning, I thought it best to ask for it not to be used, just to be on the safe side).

As we waited for our order we were provided with complimentary rice crackers. I thought at first they might be prawn crackers, but A assured me they were just plain rice. This was a nice gesture and they were lovely to munch on while we chatted and took in the surroundings.
When our food arrived I was presented with an absolute mountain of Pho xao dau rau (Stir fried flat noodles with vegetables and tofu). (The photo doesn’t do it justice, but that plate was about 10-11inches square!) I love flat rice noodles. The fat ribbons of soft and slightly chewy rice always end up sticking together when I try and cook them, but here they were perfectly cooked and coated in the sauce. The veggies included bok choi, Chinese mushrooms, carrot, pepper, bean sprouts and Chinese cabbage. They were still a little crisp and crunchy which is just how I like them. Large chunks of fried tofu were mixed in amongst the noodles which I was pleased to find wasn’t greasy and lovely and soft and creamy inside. I hate it when you take a bite and all you taste is a mouthful of oil, not the case here. The dish was topped off with lightly fried shallots which were crisp and sweet.

A chose Bo xao dau dua (stir fried beef with green beans). As his dish didn’t come with rice or noodles he chose a side order of chicken fried rice. He said the beef was very good and not chewy. After only about three mouthfuls he said we would have to come back again, so I think it’s safe to say he enjoyed his meal as much as I did.

I only managed about two-thirds of my dish and A didn’t finish all his rice and they were more than happy to package it up for us to take home. The food was very reasonably priced, especially considering the portion sizes, quality and freshness of the food. Two of us with drinks, complimentary rice crackers, two main courses and a side order of chicken rice came to less than £20.

The only thing I feel let the place down was that the food was served on very cold plates. In my opinion hot food should always be served on hot plates, but these were decidedly chilled. However, as I never got to the bottom of my dish this didn’t really matter, but it’s still a pet hate of mine. That small detail aside it was a delicious meal and I’m sure we’ll go back.

I’m pleased to say I couldn’t taste anything untoward/gluten-containing in the dish and it’s now the following morning and I’ve had no stomach issues so I’m confidant they were able to make it gluten free for me – hurrah!

Address: 216-218 London Rd, Sheffield S2 4LW
Phone: 01142 583836

1 comment:

The Caked Crusader said...

How have no idea how much I want a bowl of noodles having read this post!