Café Viet

Straight off the streets of Saigon comes Café Viet, dishing up authentic Vietnamese food.

Café Viet is yet another relative newcomer to the South East Asian food scene that the city is so whole-heartedly preoccupied with. Prominently located on the corner of the Grey Lynn shopping strip, this joint seems intent on carving out a small niche for itself away from the flurry of flashier new establishments, something we’re certain will appeal to the local crowd.

Focusing on fresh, traditional Vietnamese dishes, the restaurant is owned by Joni Hoang and Darryn Bell, with Hoang, a Saigon native, manning the kitchen. Many of the recipes have been handed down through Hoang’s family, with dishes lovingly given down-home tweaks over the years. It’s fresh cuisine at its mouthwatering best, and virtually every dish passing through the kitchen was one we wished to order. Traditional dishes, such as steaming bowls of pho – a popular beef noodle soup, are in hot demand for both lunch and dinner, and their fresh rice paper rolls blow all other local variations out of the gastrosphere. The latter comes with the obligatory nuoc cham dipping sauce, a ripper of a spice hit designed for splashing about on practically any dish. It’s what salt and pepper is to the West, although we suggest you tread carefully, the team keep it alarmingly hot, just like you’d find in the pavement kitchens of Saigon.

If you venture there with a group, and decide to share, be sure to order a basket of Bang Bang prawns, covered in crispy batter and served with a coconut and lemongrass dipping sauce. The seafood offerings continue with Cá nướng lá chuối – grilled fish of the day wrapped in banana leaf, served with steamed mussels, and a crispy salad topped with crushed peanuts. Delicious, to say the least.

It’s fair to say that Café Viet is showing plenty of promise, so much so that it’s best to call ahead to book a table for dinner.

Cafe Viet is open for lunch from 11.30am to 2.30pm Wednesday – Saturday and for dinner 5.30pm till late, Tuesday through to Sunday.

Café Viet

2 Surrey Crescent
Grey Lynn

(09) 378 8738

www.cafeviet.co.nz

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