MADAME HANOI, Adelaide
What an amazing transformation! Adelaide Casino’s Loco Bar on North Terrace has now been turned into a chic bistro eatery and bar – Madame Hanoi. It’s a fantastic fit out with food to match. Touting itself as an espresso bar and bistro, it serves both traditional and modern Vietnamese dishes, a smattering of French, plus a blend of the two.
It spans two floors and the upstairs area is huge. The artwork is by Emma Hack, a local artist. The gorgeous wall mural combines body paint, photography and a painted background. You might be familiar with her work from the Gotye “Somebody that I used to know” video clip.
Chef Nic Watt has a penchant for Asian food and has worked at NOBU and the Park Hyatt in London, and more recently, opened a Japanese restaurant in Auckland, Masu.
The printed menu, because it’s right justified and the heading is placed bottom right, looks upside down (you’ll understand what I mean when you see one!). Food-wise, it’s exciting – lots of options to share, both small and large. The kitchen is open until late which is good to know as I’m often up for a late bite after a gig and it’s hard to find anywhere in Adelaide that opens their kitchen past 9:15pm, even on a weekend. I was told on a Friday or Saturday the kitchen will be open until at least 11pm.
I was in the mood for a cocktail when I arrived so ordered the Hanoi Hannah – mint, coconut sugar, fresh lychee, hibiscus bitter and bourbon – good stuff – it went down way to easily – I could have had another but alas, I had to drive home later. After this we had the S.C. Pannell pinot grigio – a bottle, followed by another bottle. As for the food, check out the photos below. I enjoyed it all and am craving it all over again! One of my dining partners is half Vietnamese and she was pleased with the food – a good gauge I think. I particularly liked the Soft Shell Crab Squid Ink Bao with chilli lime mayonnaise – it looked and tasted great – nice meaty crab in a beautiful black bun dough – not as light and fluffy as some I’ve had but it’s something a bit different. And the crispy pork that you wrap in lettuce leaves with vermicelli and fresh herbs – YUM! Shaking beef is usually cut thinly or cubed and then cooked but Nic cooks a whole steak then slices it quick thickly. Whatever – I liked it!
It was very attentive service – Clare and Van did a great job at looking after us. They were eager to please and able to answer any question I threw at them.
I’m really excited that this place has opened. It’s a good place to drop into. You can go just for a drink, but in my opinion, you’d be crazy not to try some of this excellent food.