Went to lunch at Namaste Hanoi. What a pleasant and enjoyable outing. Our host, Gopi, treated us to a very special lunch indeed. It was a three course affair:
Nazakati Paneer - spiced cheese and onion in roomali roti... Think rolled pancake with a cheese filling;
Bhindi Rajasthani - crispy fried ocra with yoghurt dip... The dip was very fresh; &
Fish Tikka Naryali - Mackerel Kebabs: cubed boneless fish in coconut, garlic and spices, baked in a clay tandoor... Very tasty
Dal Makhani - black lentils, kidney beans and cream... By far my favorite, a lovely mild curry;
Vegetable Jalfraize - mixed vegetables with onion & capsicum in spicy gravy... This had an initial enticing sweetness followed up with a decent spicy hit, well balanced and surprisingly pleasant and full of flavor;
Chicken Balti - chicken kadhai served in a traditional balti... Another pleasant curry with a moderately spicy hit;
Prawn Tawa Masala - a sizzling dish of prawns win a spicy sauce... Its hard to fault this dish, the prawns were cooked well the spice was there, it had flavour, but kinda left me a little flat;
Moti Pulao - basmati rice with cream, capsicum and cottage cheese... This was nice. It was a great accompaniment to the chicken balti and the vegetable jalfraize; &
Plain and Garlic Nan - nan breads cooked in a clay tandoor... Very tasty, crispy, flaky and substantial: I tried cutting one with a knife and fork and the fork bent - too much pressure, trust me, tear it with your hands;
Gulab Jamun with Kulfi - Khoya balls in saffron, cardamom sugar syrup served with indian style ice cream... This was a suprise indeed, not too sweet, some interesting though balanced flavours and a nice way to finish off lunch.
The surroundings were bright and well decorated with hand painted oil paintings featuring different aspects of Indian culture, such as dance, food, landscapes, etc.
A minor (very minor) point was that when the room we were in, The Spice Room, was full of people it sometimes became hard to hear/understand what a waiter or guest, across the table, was saying.
The food was elegantly presented in copper dishes, and the main plates were changed between courses. The tables and chairs were solid, movable and comfortable. Service was very good and attentive, although drinks orders tended to be grouped, thus leaving some guests wondering if their order was coming, or had been forgotten. However, when the drinks did arrive, they were well served, cold and no-one was mis-served or forgotten.
All in all the experience at Namaste Hanoi was very pleasant and memorable. This restaurant could fast become one of my family’s favorite places for dining out in Hanoi, certainly it is high on our personal “Recommended” list.