Directions: On food street, central, at the top of the T-junctionPhone: (+84) (0)24 3938 174
Something is rotten with the state of Puku. Specifically, a righteous cock up of a menu change.
Want a side salad to compliment the flimsy leaf of lettuce and two slices of tomato that come with your burger? Nope, you HAVE to get the big meal sized salas...or ummm hang on a sec...is that just a side salad in a wider shallower bowl to give it the APPEARANCE of more?...I don't know but it wouldn't surprise me with the other maddening changes to their menu.
Read the thing and what does it say? "Pancakes: Banana, comes with two slices of crispy bacon and maple syrup". I got the syrup but the bacon seemed to have flown away. I asked the friendly server who informed me of the menu change and that I'd have to pay 25k more if I wanted any cured pig. I would have simply declined to eat the whole thing seeing as they'd pulled a switcheroo on me, but while the server was asking the manager I scarfed down the one measly pancake stuffed with an overripe banana in about 30 seconds flat, before the server could even tell me about the menu change. I pointed to the menu pleading my case. I asked for a discount, seeing as $2 for one pancake hardly flies in Vancouver, but nope, a sincere apology and a full bill was presented to me. The money I don't especially mind, it's the disappointment. The DISAPPONTMENT your hear me PUKU?
So the menu has been changed. By this they mean the side salads have been crossed out in ball point pen, and depending on what you order you might only get half of your meal. I grok that prices go up as a matter of course, but this was badly mishandled by the management. Were they so desperate for extra cash they couldn't wait until the proper new menus had arrived to impose the changes? If this had happened I might have groaned, but I wouldn't have complained. Bad form Puku, bad form.
I've always felt this to be one of the most over-rated place in Hanoi. Other than the fact it's open 24/7 and has comfy sofas, there's nothing I can find to recommend it.
It's soulless and overpriced. The food is distinctly average, I'm at a loss as to why it's so popular. I end up going there with friends at 4am after a night out and every time find myself wishing that we'd gone to any of the other places on food street - but I guess it's more comfortable and warmer in Puku.
I find it annoying that they don't seem to value paying customers over bums. It's not uncommon to go in and find your group can't get a soft comfortable seat because they're all taken by people who are sleeping and don't have any food or drinks in front of them.
They don't seem to mind people using it as a free crash pad/doss house, which may be nice for those backpackers who are too cheap to get a room somewhere, or people who are too wasted to go home - but when you come in for an overpriced sandwich, oily burger or sub-par burrito, it would be nice if you were given priority seating over these types.
Puku feels like a university coffee shop and as far as I can tell is generally frequented by people whose soul reason for going there is that it's seen by them as 'the place to go'.
Do yourself a favour and go anywhere else on food street to satisfy your post drinking hunger, or if it's daytime go to any of the western restaurants around the old quarter where you'll find better food, service and atmosphere.
After several attempts to get a decent meal at Puku, I can happily say that I succeeded last weekend. The food was good, fast, and delivered with a smile. The fact it took several visits to get food worth eating though is a bit discouraging.
The downstairs was full, with in many cases a single person spread out over a table for 4 with their laptop. As has been said by others, this is immensely frustrating when you actually wat to eat / drink as opoosed to doss around taking advantage of free wi-fi.
With downstairs full, we had to go upstairs. Although one of the staff saw us going up the stairs, within 15 minutes, no-one had appeared, so we went to leave. As luck would have it, there was a free table downstairs. As I said, quick service, good food.
This review would have got more stars except I made the mistake of going to use the toilet.
Oh. My. God.
In the catering world, the cleanliness of the toilets is considered a benchmark for the amount of importance the owners / management place on hygiene in their kitchen and for their staff. the toilets were vile - I have seener cleaner at a bia hoi. Not cleaned in ages, the sink in one was GREY with dirt, lock and light not working in one, no toilet paper in one.
Seriously Puku management, sort it out.
I would go back, but the first thing I will do is check if the toilet is clean, if not, I'm not staying. Not in the mood for an E-Coli party!
At the beginning of my Puku relationship I was well impressed, however at this point I hadn't actually been there yet. I was impressed they had grasped the Euros (football) fever and there was somewhere in Ha Noi that was going to cater to an excellent international competition. I went for the opening game and they had a big screen and buckets of beer that were overpriced (140k for 5) - well at least there will be English commentary (as promised by their marketing) I thought, however after 3 minutes the channel was changed and we were watching VTV with no English commentary and drinking exorbitant beer.
I gave them a second chance by going to watch the English game against France, shock horror they had further raised the prices of beer! When I asked why it had been raised since the 1st competition night I was given the answer that they were 'Football prices' - whatever happened to promotions??? Shame on you Puku for being so greedy, when the competition ends in a few weeks your customers will remember your short term greed and avoid your business like the English avoid winning football competitions. Added to that the English game had English commentary until the last 10 minutes (the most tense at 1-1), when technology failed and we had no commentary and no picture.
Some advice to finish - use an international event to promote your business and offer your customers something better than usual in the hopes of keeping them for the rest of the year, do not make promises you can't keep, and reduce your exorbitant prices for average quality food/drinks... oh and never ever piss on an electric fence.