Vietnamese is one of our favourite cuisines. We’ve been on a constant lookout to find the best of it in town.
After hearing people rave about Cafe Viet, we had to go try. The atmosphere is unlike your typical Vietnamese restaurants. With exposed brick walls, bright blue shutters and trailing plants painted on the walls it’s a little like a Saigon movie set. There were also fairy lights and brightly coloured cushions scattered around.
Bang Bang Prawns ($10) -my favourite of the night. These were crispy yet juicy inside. I loved how bits of lemongrass were infused into the batter giving the prawns that extra flavour boost.
Cafe Viet Spring Rolls ($10) – these are different to your typical vietnamese spring rolls. They’re filled with juicy diced pork and prawn, fried, then wrapped in fresh rice paper with lettuce, carrot, bean sprouts and mint. Dip them in the nước mắm sauce and you’ll be munching away happily.
Coconut Juice ($4) – surprisingly this was served with pieces of real coconut. The drink was very refreshing, perfect for a hot summer night. Although If you’re die-hard coconut juice fan this may disappoint you as the coconut flavour isn’t strong.
Saigon Flamed Grilled Lemongrass Chicken ($19) – served with curry puffs and a side of crunchy salad with prawn crackers. I was rather disappointed in this dish. Even though the chicken was very tender and the servings generous, it lacked the authentic lemongrass flavour that I coveted.
Banana Coconut Doughnuts with Chocolate dipping sauce ($10) – sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, these were very crispy. We couldn’t taste much of the coconut in the doughnut and the banana pieces were a lot smaller than I imagined. Admittedly this was my least favourite dish of the night.
If you’re looking for a quiet night out I would suggest you come early. Once it hits 7, the restaurant fills up quickly and you’ll find it hard to hear yourself. The service was attentive and the staff were very helpful. I would definitely come back for the small plates and drinks.
2 Surrey Crescent, Grey Lynn, Auckland