A must visit!
About two kilometres south of Hoan Kiem Lake on Bui Thi Xuan – one of the small streets that runs parallel to Pho Hue and Ba Trieu – sits Hanoi’s must-go restaurant Pots n Pans. Somewhat tucked away among the bright lights of karaoke bars, its subtle and stylish exterior is easy to miss, but worth seeking out.
They describe their food as innovative Vietnamese cuisine, so expect to find dishes such as “braised duck leg, spicy lemongrass duck sausage, fennel puree, poached daikon, sautéed mung beans, wombok and lap chong, shitake mushroom jus” and “seared scallops with corn and coriander jelly, corn puree, and shitake crumb with a salsa verde”. A mouthful in more ways than one.
The dishes we’ve tried have featured a wonderful merging of flavours and textures and been beautifully presented in portion sizes that won’t leave you popping out for a late night bowl of pho; wash it down with a decent wine from their well-selected wine list.
Australian chef Joel Nanton has just joined to head up the kitchen, and we went along to a wine and food pairing event to celebrate his arrival. They’re hoping to run similar events in the future, so check out the schedule when you’re in town as it’s a great opportunity to experience a variety of dishes.
Pots n Pans is a collaboration between KOTO (the vocational training organisation for street and disadvantaged youth in Vietnam), Small Giants and the alumni of KOTO. That not only means it’s supporting a good cause but also that the staff are well trained, hitting that perfect point between friendly and professional.
“We’re creating a culture around food by having a young and passionate team of KOTO graduates doing something completely new for Hanoi,” their business development manager Stewart Davies told me.
As you may expect, Pots n Pans isn’t cheap. The decor, standard of service and innovative quality food clearly position it in the fine dining category, and even in Hanoi (which is not as cheap as it used to be) this comes at a price tag. Expect to pay US$30–40 for a three-course meal, with drinks on top. But while it might not be an everyday option for most, couples and small groups should certainly put it high on the list if budget permits.
If you’re seeking other high-end dining options, then the area south of Hoan Kiem is a good place to start. La Badiane is further north on 10 Nam Ngu Street, or try La Verticale at 19 Ngo Van So Street.
By Sarah Turner
Last updated on 28th January, 2015.