Caribbean, Spanish, Vietnamese, Mexican, Italian, French – Aucklanders are spoilt for choice when it comes to exotic and innovative cuisine. If you’ve always wanted to sample food that’s a little out of the ordinary, Auckland Restaurant Month is the ideal time to do it. Over 100 restaurants will be taking part in this celebration of food; many of which offer interesting international fare.
Throughout the month Localist will be profiling some of Auckland’s most exciting international cuisine; so join us on a journey around the world in eight cuisines!
The first stop on our culinary journey is Cafe Hanoi. Located in the bustling and fashionable Britomart precinct, this restaurant brings a slice of Vietnam’s most intriguing city to the centre of Auckland.
The interiors of the truly unique eatery are reason enough to pay a visit. The pared back concrete walls, oversized paper lanterns, exposed brickwork and marbled bathrooms give the space with a sense of crumbling glamour. Designed by architect around town Nat Cheshire (he’s so hot right now), it’s very romantic and chic.
But it’s the food that keeps the tables packed at Cafe Hanoi. Inspired by Vietnamese street food, the dishes are packed with flavour and healthy to boot. Making use of seasonal vegetables, herbs and spices, the food is light and aromatic. It’s a great place to discover fresh new flavours – green papaya, perilla and morning glory are just some of the exotic ingredients used in the creation of this flavoursome fare.
The plates are small and made to be shared; which makes it ideal for those wanting to experience a range of new food. There’s a range of gluten-free and vegetarian food, so everyone is well catered for. There’s also an extensive wine list, and some of the best cocktails in town.
Executive head chef Jason van Dorsten is a bit of a celebrity, appearing in newspapers and on TV, and hosting master classes around Auckland. His fresh take on Vietnamese cuisine has won him many accolades; the restaurant has been voted as one Auckland’s top 50 by Metro and Cuisine magazines, and Cafe Hanoi won the Best New Venue award in the 2011 Lewisham awards.
You need to be early to secure a seat at this popular eatery, as they don’t take bookings. So head along for a taste of Vietnam this August and savour their special Auckland Restaurant Month dessert for just $9; black sticky rice with caramelised pineapple sorbet and coconut sauce.
The very popular Monsoon Poon is also taking part in Auckland Restaurant Month. Serving a selection of South East Asian food, including Vietnamese dishes, it's a vibrant, fun venue for a night out with friends.
Check out these other Vietnamese restaurants around Auckland.
Check out our guide to Auckland Restaurant Month.