Decent Vietnamese food finally lands South of the river
Seven years after meeting at The Saint Hotel, owners Paul Nguyen and Simon Blacher, together with Nicolas Coulter (ex-Sarti), opened Hanoi Hannah where Capital Records used to be.
Named after a popular Vietnamese radio personality during the Vietnam War, the restaurant has been open less than a month, and yet it feels like it’s been on High Street for years. You can order take-away, but it’s worth sticking around. The fellas did the décor themselves. Almost everything in the intimate space is recycled, from the lengthy timber bar and food crates housing spirits behind it, to the secondhand stools from Byron Bay.
A rustic brick façade was unearthed a week after chipping away at the plaster behind the bar. Colourful photographs of Vietnam hang from the walls and sheets of floral material from the ceiling. An antique bicycle wedges the door open, while a collection of kitsch tin objects, including a cow and a Vietnamese rickshaw, add some quirk.
But is it as cheap as Victoria Street? You bet. Phở with meat will set you back $9. There’s also a modern take on hawker-style food, and nothing is over $13. Munch on balalot (crispy betel leaf beef cigars), 5 spice quail or chilli prawns. For lunch, there’s also banh-mi, French baguettes with Vietnamese fillings such as lemongrass beef and pork belly.
Hanoi Hannah is as serious about booze as it is about food. There’s a variety of hand selected beer (including one from Vietnam’s North and another from it’s South), wine and cider. But we recommend trying a fresh young coconut with a shot of rum for an authentic buzz. The kitchen closes around 9.30pm, but you can hang out ‘til late with a ginger and chilli mojito in hand.
Still not convinced? The Vietnamese tailor next door gives Hanoi Hannah the tick of approval, so you should check it out, phở sure.
Location: 180 High Street, Windsor
Open: 7 days, 11am-11pm
Phone: (03) 9939 5181