Friday, March 30, 2012

Bun Bo Nam Bo @ Nha Hang 67 Hang Dieu

Just like Malaysia, Hanoi is a food paradise with plethora of food to choose from. Most of the best food in Hanoi is found on the sidewalk, with dishes that features the usual suspects such as, fish sauce, fresh herbs, rice noodles and beef. Nha Hang 67 Hang Dieu is a well known Bun Bo Nam Bo street kitchen that has been around since 1988. 

One thing I learned in Hanoi is not to worry about the language barrier. Most of the restaurant will know what you want. All you need to do is order the portion and find a place to sit. 
The restaurant is long, deep and narrow with stainless steel communal tables and wooden benches filling up the empty space.

Bun Bo Nam Bo (50,000 VND ~ RM7.33), which literally means "Southern Beef Noodle" is a concoction of rice noodles, topped with sliced beef, peanuts, dried onions, bean sprouts, green papaya, coriander and basil leaves - all drenched in a small portion of sweet savory fish sauce.

Like any bowl of noodles, mixing is essential before digging in. The tangy broth at the bottom of the bowl was exceptional, harmonizing all the ingredients together. The bowl of noodles was full of flavors, making each mouthful complex and intriguing.


Verdict : TOTALLY SMITTEN

Nha Hang
Address: 67 Hang Dieu, Hanoi, Vietnam
Phone: +84 4 3923 0701
Opening Hours: 7am- 1030pm

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ril's Steak House @ K.L. Chinatown

Every chef has a forte, and Chef Saad Siddiqui happens to be steak. Ril's steak menu is split into two parts: Bone In (steak with bones) and Bone Out (fillet steak). The restaurant currently serves 7 different types of steaks with prices ranging between RM72 - RM208. 
This 90 year old building was formerly a warehouse for textiles before transforming into a trio of art gallery, cafe and steak house. 
The gallery provides a place for local and national artists to showcase their work all year round in the heart of Chinatown. New artists are being featured every month.
Behind the main gallery lies a Warehouse Cafe, which offers delicious non-alcoholic drinks and light snacks such as sandwiches, salads, cakes and pastries.
The lavish Ril's Steak House is located on the second floor of the WAREHOUSE.
Ril's Tiga Rasa Scallops (RM28) - Signature seared scallops served in three unique ways : sweet, sour and salty. The scallops were lightly seared, retaining its moisture and flavor. 
Homemade fizz strawberry basil (RM14) 
Spicy Grapefruit Margarita (RM28) - The tequila was super spicy with a tiny hint of grapefruit.  
Filet Mignon 300g (RM96) - The steak was big and thick! The sides of the steak were well browned, while the top and bottom were charred to a dark brown color.
My medium Filet Mignon was slightly under cooked. The steak was more of a medium rare with mostly pink to red center. Even though it was under cooked, it was still extremely delicious and juicy. I had no problem finishing the entire steak by myself.
Medium Rare Australian Angus Rib Eye 300mg (RM 116) - The Angus Rib Eye was just done right, with hint of red in the middle. The rib eye was simple, succulent and satisfying.
Green Goddess (RM22) -  Baby romaine and fresh tomatoes tossed in delicious anchovy tarragon dressing. 
Chocolate Fondant (RM26) - Sinful dark chocolate served with The Last Polka salted gula melaka ice cream. 
A perfect chocolate fondant should be soft and spongy on the outside, with a center that oozes out chocolaty goodness. Unfortunately, the center was a tad overcooked with limited oozing. Nonetheless, the cake paired well with the gula melaka ice cream. 
Despite the under cooked steak and over baked chocolate fondant. It's still a steak worth climbing up the steep cast iron stairs.

Verdict: SOMEWHAT SMITTEN

Ril's Steakhouse Big Badge

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bun Cha Dae Kim @ Old Quarter, Hanoi

Hanoi is a heaven for cheap food and drinks, offering tourists a good variety of soups, noodles, buns, and sandwiches. I could really spend a week eating my way through the Old Quarter without having the same meal twice.


Originated from Hanoi, Bun Cha or Grilled Pork Noodle Soup is a very popular lunch dish, which consists of four main parts: 1) Rice noodles, 2) Warm fish sauce, 3) Grilled pork strips & patties and 4) Fresh vegetables & herbs. 
The restaurant only specializes in one dish - Bun Cha. 

The kitchen area

Let's try naming all the greens: Lettuce, basil, mint, perilla and coriander. These fresh, tangy, slightly bitter herbs and vegetables sung beautifully with the dish.
The well seasoned pork strips and patties were caged up in a wire and grilled over charcoal fire before being served in a warm dipping sauce. The pork was well charred, with small bites of black char falling into the soup. 
This luke warm soup (salty sweet broth) comprised of the usual suspects : Fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, lime juice and sliced green papayas.
The delicious spring rolls were packed with minced pork, garlic, herbs, mushrooms and glass noodles. These gorgeous golden brown rolls deserve a round of applause. 

To eat, add some rice noodles, pork patty, spring roll, sliced papaya, garlic, some greens and some soup into a bowl. The finish product should resembled a bowl of noodle salad. In my opinion, the soup is what brings everything together. We really enjoyed every component of the dish. It really has it all. 

Verdict: TOTALLY SMITTEN

Bun Cha Dae Kim
Address: 1, Hang Manh, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Telephone: 04 3828 5022

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Smitten By Ideas - Kitchen & Toilet Rolls

Saw this interesting post from The Daily Buzz. Hope you will be inspired by all these great ideas! =)
Skip to My Lou transformed toilet rolls into pillow boxes - perfect for party favors.
 Mini Eco turned a kitchen roll into a percussion instrument just by attaching a few bells!
Gather enough rolls and you will be able to build a castle, just like bloesem kids
Creative Jews Mum churned these recycle rolls into precious crowns, perfect for all the kings and queens.
Awww.... these cute little owls are just too adorable, thanks to Decoldias.
See how  you can achieve this look at Handmade Spark.
With love from DRI ......
  Myrtle & Eunice's giant flower idea.
Check out how Eco Modernism grow seeds! You can forget about buying a pot. 
Why didn't I think of this? Apartment Therapy 
Who needs to buy a hot wheel race track when you can build your own, just like Home learning From Birth.
Does your Barbie needs a chair? Mid-Craft Crisis has a solution for you. 
Next time when you go jungle tracking, bring these binoculars for the little explorers. Kids can learn how to make it at World of Mex.
Brilliant storage idea from Instructables

* Are you SMITTEN by all these cool ideas? *

Hummingbirds Coffee Bar @ Bangsar

One of life's greatest pleasures is to enjoy great tea with friends in a relaxed setting. Located in Beatrice Looi Boutique at Telawi Street, Hummingbirds Coffee Bar is perpetually stocked with a variety of cakes, macaroons and cookies - ready to set your weekend right. 
Hummingbirds' opulent ambiance was perfect for sweet indulgence and girls gossiping.
Gossip girls never leave their wardrobe behind. 
Green Tea Apple and Pear (RM6) 
The Women's Day Tea Set Promotion (limited edition RM13.80) came with a cup of tea, set of 4 mini cupcake and cakes. From left to right: tofu custard drizzled with kiwi sauce, chocolate brownie, blueberry tart and red velvet cupcake. 
English Breakfast Tea

Signature Hummingbird Cake - The cake's texture was dense and moist, topped with the popular cream cheese icing. The combination of bananas, pineapples, pecans, cinnamon and cream cheese was sinfully delicious. 
Red Velvet Cake - As elegant as always...The rich tangy buttery taste paired well with the mild chocolaty flavor. 
Macaroons (RM5 each) - These pastel shades macaroons were filled with buttercream, sandwiched between almond wafers.  3 out of the 4 macaroons was a tad too hard. These delicate cookies are best eaten fresh.

Verdict : SOMEWHAT SMITTEN

Hummingbirds Coffee Bar Big Badge

Monday, March 19, 2012

KOTO @ Hanoi

Founded by Jimmy Pham, an Australian Vietnamese, KOTO, which stands for Know One Teach One is a not-for-profit  restaurant and vocational training program in Hanoi. Through donation and restaurant's profit, KOTO takes in around 25 disadvantaged youths aged between 16-22 years old every 6 months to join its 24 months hospitality training program. To date, they have trained over 300 individuals with 100% job placement rate.  

KOTO Hanoi opened its doors in 2000 and has since evolved from a small sandwich shop into a 120 seats restaurant. Situated next to the Temple of Learning, this elegant three story French Art Nouveau townhouse is open everyday, with the exception of Monday evening, which is closed for cooking classes. 
The lavish menu offered both international and Vietnamese cuisines cooked by well educated trainees. The casual atmosphere coupled with friendly wait staffs made it an ideal place for diners to relax and unwind.
Traditional Vietnamese Ice Coffee (29,000 VND ~ RM4.2)
Freshly squeezed Passion Fruit Juice (45,000 VND ~ RM6.5) 
Koto Spring Roll Combo (90,000 VND ~ RM13) - A variety of spring rolls (pork, prawn, beef and vegetables) served with two different Vietnamese sauce. The generously filled spring rolls were delicious when dipped into the sweet and salty sauce, bringing all the elements together. 
Bun Bo Nam Bo (105,000 VND ~ RM15) - This southern style wok fried beef on rice noodles with fresh mixed herbs, peanuts, lime, chili and garlic was interestingly delicious.
Nem Lui (90,000 VND ~ RM13) -  We enjoyed wrapping our grilled minced pork on the rice paper and filling it up with local fresh herbs and rice noodles. 
Lemongrass Chicken (135,000 VND ~ RM20) - The lemongrass free range chicken skewer with lime leaves was served together with some vegetables and steamed rice. The sauce was lovely thanks to the flavorful lemongrass gravy. 
Unlike most of the restaurant we have visited, KOTO is an unique restaurant with a mission. The meal at KOTO was truly inspiring, serving traditional and international dishes at moderate prices. 

Verdict: SOMEWHAT SMITTEN

Address: 61 Pho Van Mieu, Hanoi, Vietnam.
Phone: +84 4747 0337
http://www.koto.com.au/