147 Curtain Road
Tel: 020 7729 6868
The Victim: Ying
The Damage: Unknown! Ying paid!
The Background: I stood Ying up for lunch twice this week because of my own scheduling issues. Triple booked myself–I hate it when I do that. So Thursday was THE DAY–the time for me to make it up to her. I cleared my calendar for the afternoon so we could get together.
I've always walked right by Little Hanoi and their tempting buffet offer. (Cheaper still as a takeaway!) So it was about time to give it a shot. Stupidly, I got us a little lost on the way there. This is unbelievably stupid of me because it's not like I don't walk around the area all the time. I think I managed to eat up about 20 minutes of our valuable lunch time, trudging through the backstreets of Shoreditch.
The Starters: But finally, we made it to Little Hanoi. And Ying speaks Cantonese and so do the staff so all was right in the world. We ordered some summer rolls (as opposed to spring rolls?) on the advice of our server, along with some chili squid. I loved the squid–lightly fried (if there is such a thing) and dusted with thin chilli slices. I thought the summer rolls were okay…fresh and summery but a bit bland…I had to practically drown them in the brown sauce they were served with for them to taste like anything. (In all fairness, Ying rolled them in the brown sauce for me because she's much better with chopsticks than me. Although I'm certainly no slacker.)
All the while, I'm watching the buffet. It's a small little buffet. I tried to take a picture of the sign above it but felt too conspicuous. It basically said eat all you want, but if you waste anything, there will be a "wastage" fee of £1. If I had a £1 for every time my mother forced me to clean my plate as a child…
The Mains: On the advice of our server who I thought did a particularly thorough job of describing all the dishes in both English and Cantonese, I went for the dried chicken with chilli. It was served on a bed of white rice, with just the right amount of bean sprouts. Ying had the rice noodle soup with beef and she really liked it. We were both very satisfied.
Odd Observations: There was a very fully stocked bar. Intriguing. Also, Ying laughed at the chopstick wrappers that explained how to use the chopsticks inside. Apparently, you don't get this so much in China.
The Verdict: You know, I'd go back sometime. It was cheap and nice and I liked our server. And I need to get you a photo of that "wastage" sign. I can make a whole post out of that, for sure.