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Le Hanoi (CLOSED)

Restaurants, Vietnamese Chinatown
4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

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A casual Vietnamese restaurant right by Chinatown.

Cheap and cheerful is massively underrated. Le Hanoi, a Vietnamese restaurant on the edge of Chinatown, could change that. There are geometric tiles, brightly coloured walls and clear plastic seating. There’s a big yellow LED star on the wall and a tropical house playlist. I like it. It’s cheerful as hell.

So it’s almost a surprise when the food that turns up is positively classy. First up: a prawn summer roll packed with cool mint and plump, juicy crustacean, wrapped in a thin, sticky casing. This starter is sunshine in your mouth. One bite and I was hooked. Also excellent were dense, moreish pork dumplings wrapped in crispy betel leaves and a rich, tender dish of grilled marinated duck. The absolute highlight? The mango salad: a mix of sweet fruit, chilli, crispy shrimp and buttery peanuts. It was utterly fresh and zesty.

With the hits came one notable miss: the too-bland broth of the rare beef pho. Even after adding the fresh herbs, this needed pepping up with condiments from the table. It was enormous though, and came with plenty of high-quality meat, so at only £8.50, still an objective bargain. You could easily share it between two, add a side and have yourself a filling lunch for about £6 each. But then, nothing on Le Hanoi’s menu pips £15 (and most of it cost less), so eating here is never going to be a bank-breaker. Treat yourself and order lots. Cheap and cheerful never tasted so good.


Address: 4 Macclesfield Street
Transport: Tube: Leicester Square
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £55.
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