Flight from Hue to Hanoi
After an uneventful one hour flight we reach Hanoi. It’s another hour into town by a car that I prearranged with the hotel, as the taxi drivers in Hanoi have a reputation for overcharging and purposely taking passengers to the wrong hotel.
Hotel Hanoi Elegance Diamond
Hotel Hanoi Elegance Diamond on Lo Su Street is just two blocks from Hoan Kiem Lake on the eastern edge of the Old Quarter. A twelve story boutique type hotel that offers excellent service, small but nicely furnished comfortable rooms, and an extensive breakfast buffet with both Asian and Western selections. You can also order cooked to order pancakes, omelets and pho noodle soup.
Note that this hotel has since been renamed La Siesta Classic Lo Su Hotel.
Dinner at Green Tangerine
Green Tangerine is listed as one of Hanoi’s best restaurants with the menu described as French-Vietnamese fusion. We got there at about 7:45PM and the small shabby-chic dining rooms were packed with Western patrons. We were seated without a reservation in a lovely room with white painted brick walls and the door and window frames painted a soft spring green. A large Tiffany-style light fixture hung above. A pretty, cozy, elegant setting.
Unfortunately the quality of the food was only shabby not chic. Don ordered two items off the preset lunch menu. The mackerel tart with summer vegetables and mustard sauce was well seasoned but the pastry soggy. It was obvious that it had been sitting since lunch. The fish, served in a saffron sauce with rice noodles and greens, was cooked to order and tasty – the best dish of the evening.
I ordered the tempura fig stuffed with goat cheese, raisins and walnuts. Again, while the flavor was spot on, the fried batter was soggy. Oddly the dish is served with thin slices of brown bread with a drizzle of a thin cream sauce. Next was the duck breast with a five-spice “crust” served with herbed mashed potatoes garnished with tomatoes -the worst dish of the evening. The duck, not overcooked but somehow still tough with the crust soggy and the potatoes flavorless.
With hope in our hearts, we ventured on to desert. The order of banana tarte tartin turned out to be two pan fried bananas on soggy pastry served with a creamy chocolate ice cream and toasted pistachios. Only the ice cream was worthy of the restaurant’s reputation. So unless you are really into pretty settings or soggy pastry, I’d find another place to spend your dong.
For links to all the posts in this series see the Vietnam page.