Hanoi Bike Shop has made a name for itself in the West End, occupying the former site of Stravaigin 2 & serving up a range of Vietnamese dishes. It’s somewhere that’s been on my hitlist for a while so we decided to pop along one Saturday night.
The only word to describe the restaurant is quirky. It’s split over 2 levels & filled with lots of bric a brac type artifacts such as wheel spokes, tin cans & metal signs. It all merges together to give the feel that you’re actually eating in a street food shack type place. It’s also pretty cosy, which does have the disadvantage that you can overhear the people next to you without much effort, especially if they’ve had a few!
In terms of dishes, most are of a sharing/tapas size, with 3 or 4 dishes recommended along with a side dish or 2. There is a wide range of street food dishes ranging from rice paper rolls to sweet potato & soy bean cakes & grilled mince wrapped in betel leaf. The remained of the menu is made up of curry, stews, grills & traditional Vietnamese Pho. I shouldn’t forget to mention that Hanoi Bike Shop also makes all of their tofu in-house – the only restaurant I know who does so!
Given the wide range of dishes as well as the specials on offer, it was really hard narrowing it down to a few dishes to share between us. We first went for the rice paper rolls filled with prawn & omelette. Being naive & never having had rice rolls before, I fully expected them to be similar to spring rolls. When I took a bite & it was a cold, I did get a bit of a shock! However, the roll was filled to the brim & the filling was full of flavour, enhanced by the fresh coriander throughout. The accompanying vinegar chilli dip gave it a bit of a boost.
The remainder of our dishes were:
- Black pudding & salt n pepper squid – this was delicious! The salt n pepper seasoning was not so overpowering that it detracted from the black pudding & complemented it well
- Spiced Pheasant Curry – the flavour of this really reminded me of a massman curry which is my favourite Thai curry. I’ve never had pheasant in a curry before & can say it won’t be the last time!
- Caramelised Sardines – this was a special on the night & the brown sugar caramelisation made the sardines so moreish. However, eating these with chopsticks proved very difficult!
- The side we had were jasmine rice for the curry & seasonal greens wok fried with garlic which were very garlicky
I am a bit gutted that we didn’t try the tofu but there was so much choice that it wasn’t what we felt like on the night. Plus, it gives me an excuse to go back! We only had a glass of wine & a beer with our meal & the total came to just over £40, which was pretty reasonable. The one drawback was that because of where we were seated, we didn’t catch the price of the sardines so were shocked to find out it was £10 for the 4 sardines we ate. A bit pricey in our opinion.
I will definitely be back to Hanoi Bike Shop since there’s so much more on the menu I have to try!