psychprof
psychprof on TNH Hanoi
January 14th, 2014 at 10:23 am

tired of the despots in the 'censorship' department. I did an updated review of The Press Club (followed the rules, edited previous review) and I was informed by someone named Somoa that my review had been deleted because they were convinced that I was the owner of the business!!! I wish I had that kind of money.
I sent an email back letting them know that they should check their information more carefully, that I am not in any way associated with the Press Club, not even a member.
Result? absolute silence, no response, not even an acknowledgement of receipt.
Get with the program TNH, try a little courtesy, do a little research, and get the little 'corporals' to be less abusive of their position. Still waiting for apology, hence this review.

 
psychprof
psychprof on Press Club, Hanoi
November 19th, 2013 at 10:10 am

This is an update on the Christmas Dinner as mentioned in previous review.

OK, another good evening. service is certainly good and has stood the test of time, lots of English spoken, lots of attention from managers and supervisors.
Martinis same as before, 175k but a generous pour.
4 course Xmas dinner was excellent (just like last year) and left overstuffed.
salmon tartare to start with a glass of reisling (212k), then the Boston seafood chowder (a little on the heavy side with the cream, but delicious), then the roast turkey with mashed and stuffing and cranberry sauce and a great gravy (glass of Syrah, 212k), and again, the only disappointment is the choice of vegetables (tired broccoli, cauliflower, carrots), really should come up with something a little more creative (squash, turnip, peas, asparagus please).
Dessert was a slice of pumpkin pie and a slice of pecan pie with a scoop of ice cream. We were invited by the management to have a complimentary glass of port with our coffee (also included in the Xmas menu). Tickets prepaid with taxes and service came to 1,800,000 dong, bill for the cocktails and wines came to another 1.4 million so a complete Christmas Dinner 4 course meal with drinks and all things included for two people came to 3.2 million or $150. I reckon that was a fair price for the evening.

One star off for the drab and uninspired vegetables and the amateurish female pianist who managed to ruin just about every song she played due to a combination of lack of skill, understanding of rhythm and a piano that is past due for a tune-up.

However, all dining experiences (food) have been very good at The Press Club over the past three or four visits. It is now a reliable destination for a decent evening out.


Well, things have certainly changed at The Press Club (thank god) and I am amazed that I can actually give this place a good review.
Had dinner there two times in the past week and both were great.
OK, this place is not for the budget minded unless you only drop in for the 2 for 1 happy hour on Thursday and Friday. Both come with continuous flow of free snacks.
I go for the dining experience, 2 for 1 nights are simply a bonus.

OK, running through the meal, we started with cocktails (Classic Martini and most other cocktails are 175,000 dong but a generous pour and a bargain during happy hour when you get two for that one price).
The Autumn a la carte menu has lots of variety although the appetizers are the price of a regular meal elsewhere. I tend to avoid them.
Soups are quite good (148,000 dong, I had the green pea and scallop soup, my guest had the spicy seafood. Both were strong in natural flavours.
For mains we had the seafood with spinach pasta (438,000 dong) and the grilled duck breast (488,000 dong).
On a previous visit my guest had the lamb chops (688,000 dong).
Of these, the standout is the duck breast, a good size portion, beautifully cooked, tender, juicy and still slightly pink. Comes with a corn palenta and a very good pepper sauce.
My guest confirmed that the lamb chops were also well cooked and had plenty of natural (fresh) taste.
The pasta was a bit disappointing and not really worth the price. Small pieces of salmon and two small barely cooked shrimp with a mundane green pasta lacking flavour.

The least expensive bottle of wine is 998,000 dong although even this one did not disappoint. Wine by the glass is pricey averaging 200,000 dong and sometimes suffers from consistency in terms of the 'pour'. Sometimes generous, sometimes not.
Desserts are always very creative in their presentation. Desserts average 148,000 dong and range from Tiramisu and Bailey's sauce, pineapple crumble with coconut ice cream and a very nice orange creme brulee.
Service was excellent throughout being attentive or unobtrusive when it needed to be.
Dinner for two with drinks, wine and roughly three courses will set you back around 3 to 4 million dong.
On the other hand, the ambiance is pleasant, you can talk because both the speaker music and the live music are more 'background' than in your face bar music.
Overall a good experience and the French twist to the cooking is deft, creative and tasty (notwithstanding the unfortunate pasta). The only other complaint I have is the lack of variety in the vegetables. Just can't seem to get beyond the tired stem of broccoli and carrot slices. I think asparagus, button mushrooms, squash, zucchini and egg plant are all available at this time of year and would be a nice change.
Lots of choices of steak if you are so inclined, sold by the gram and cut, all from the USA.
Booked Christmas DAY dinner, it is essentially the same menu as last year and it was excellent. Price per person is 788,000 dong plus 5% service and 10% tax. Usual suspects, salmon salad, Boston chowder, US Turkey with cranberries and mashed, pecan/pumpkin pie. Worth a flutter.
Prices for the Christmas Eve dinner considerably higher at about 1.4 million dong per person.


Previous Review (October 2012):

This place defies any rationale for its popularity. We have gone two more times since the previous review we did about 6 months ago and can only say that the experience has been underwhelming and true to the one star form.
We were there on Hanoi Opera Night for a light meal and drinks before going to see the Beethoven night at the Opera House. We had reserved a table for 6pm but on arrival no one knew anything about it. Finally settled for a table in the front after much questioning as to whether we actually had a reservation despite the place being empty at the time.
OK, started with the classic martini, had to make sure the bartender used the Tanqueray gin which was part of the 164,000 dong price, on the previous occasion he tried to sneak in a shot of Gordon's. Again, no green olives, just the oily black ones. Is it beyond possibility that some staff member could not find a local shop and purchase a jar of green olives? Is this not something that every decent bar needs when advertizing a classic martini?
We opted for the basic menu as we wanted something that wouldn't cause us to miss the opening of the opera house program. We ordered the fresh spring rolls, the soup of the day (potato), a cheeseburger and the nasi goreng (Indonesian rice dish).
We were given a choice between wine at 198,000 a glass or over 1 million for the cheapest bottle. Passed, and had another martini which unfortunately was not part of the happy hour, two for one thing that happens on Thursdays only.
Not worth having a beer since Heineken comes served at the 'modest' price of only 107,000 dong for the usual 330 ml.
Food was mediocre as per past experience. Will I never learn? Obviously the cooking team seem to err on the side of total neutrality in terms of flavour and seasoning. Everything was completely bland and unappetizing so that the total sum experience was a culinary disappointment made more unpleasant by the hefty prices required to settle the bill. Perhaps the kitchen might like to know that when paying top dollar, the customers, particularly those of us who still have taste buds, would like our senses prodded just a bit. To make a long story short, the bill came to over 2 million and we felt that we had no satisfaction for the price despite the atmosphere and surroundings which are very pleasant but not the main reason for going to a restaurant/bar.
Our experience paled in comparison to some woman who faced a debacle of major proportions in ordering her meal and trying to settle the bill. She is a member of the press club and was treated quite shamefully. First she ordered from the holiday special and was disappointed to find that the advertized free glass of wine did not come with her order (the menu card did not make it clear as to which items were covered by the free wine and I suppose she reasonably expected that a 200,000 dong item that turned out only to be an appetizer, would qualify). After two failed attempts to get her order correct she reminded them that she had a credit of 127,000 dong from the last time she was there and when she was overcharged for her meal. The credit note was not in the computer as she had been told and this created massive gnashing of teeth and consternation on the part of the management and serving staff. She was able to provide proof of the credit but this did not appear to make any difference in the staff's understanding of the matter. It took an incredible 27 minutes to resolve this issue as the staff just did not have the linguistic acumen to really understand the lady's problem. No foreign manager or staff on hand despite the Press Club being a haven for expats (most of whom must indeed be misguided to keep frequenting this place).
Just cannot fathom the popularity of this one star review establishment.
We have made reservations for the Christmas Day a la carte dinner and I am now wondering whether this is going to be a catastrophe waiting to happen. Hedging my bets, I am looking for an option. I don't want my special day to be turned into a frustrating and negative experience. Who owns this place? The Vietnamese Government? At least that would explain most of the above.

 
psychprof
psychprof on Moo Beef Steak (Royal City)
October 21st, 2013 at 1:47 pm

have been to the original Moo Beef Steak about two years ago and was not impressed with the meal, cannot say that this new upscale location is any better.
nicer surroundings inside, kind of like a beer hall with long tables (as well as more intimate ones) that are not quite benches and the seating is softer.
very loud, and a lot of annoying balloon popping by children who are immune to any kind of decibel challenge.
there are some nice touches, but not enough to boost the stars rating.

1. nice stuff: a small bun with a pork pate is complimentary as an appetizer, as was a plate with two pieces of round bread for the main, and a small shot glass of what is supposed to be a creme caramel for dessert (but tasted awful)

2. not so nice stuff: small portions and high prices so that you pay more for a small rib eye (140 grams) for over 240,000 dong. no bargain. AND, the steaks are thin and just can't be 'grilled' as one would like without overcooking them. These steaks are barely a centimeter high and thus the double cheese burger across the aisle at Lotteria, looked positively appealing.

very annoying selection of 'sauces' that cover your steak whether you want it or not. I had the 'cheese' sauce as it was mandatory with the mashed potatoes that came with my meal. not cheesy, godawful colour and definitely not wanted.

no difference between the 140 gram small and the 180 gram medium size steak that we ordered. felt like a bit of a rip off although 40 grams is not much weight. of course, you can get 300 gram steaks if you are willing to fork out 400,000 dong or more depending on the 'grade' of beef. the waiters will push the 'tenderloin' which is the best and most expensive cut and it should be considering I can buy three quarters of a kilo at my butcher shop for less than the menu price of one steak.

drinks are average, a gin and tonic goes for 75,000, 50,000 for a lemonade.
wine only by the bottle, usual collection of overpriced culprits from Chile, 600,000 dong plus if you want a decent plonk.

finally, the raison d'etre for being a steak house is the steak and this is where the main disappointment is. while not being extravagant and arrogant like Jackson's and other high end steak houses (a million dong plus for a steak?!), Moo Beef Steak does advertise a great dining experience that doesn't materialize. Steaks, as mentioned, are too thin, not grilled enough (where's the charcoal taste?) and just too pricey for the portion/weight. You can get a better size, thicker and better value at any Al Fresco's and a lot more variety if you are a meat lover.

dinner for two (no appetizers/soup) with one lemonade and a bia hanoi came to just under 800,000 dong, a bit steep for what was overall a dinner that did not meet expectations.

waiters speak reasonable English, service depends on how busy the place is, floor manager apologized for delays. so-so experience and very much par for the Moo Beef Steak chain course.

 
psychprof
psychprof on Big C (Tran Duy Hung)
September 30th, 2013 at 11:53 am

This is a review based on the new pricing of wines and liquors at Big C.
All have gone up (no surprise, the inflation rate is 7% - 10% higher than official stats from the government, as relayed to me by my landlord who happens to be deputy minister of finance).
The main reason for the review is that I don't know where one can pass on general information like this.
The main target is Gordon's Gin. It has been reduced from 75cl to 70cl and worse, the alcohol content has been reduced from 40% to 37.5%. Noted the same thing at Citimart. So, increased price, decreased bottle size and less alcohol. It is almost impossible to get the original Gordon's at 40% and 43% in Hanoi.
I have sent an inquiry to Gordon's but have yet to receive a reply.
I intend to check out the bottle of Gordon's the next time I am at my usual bars, no wonder the gins an tonics and the dry martini cocktails have been tasting like mineral water lately.
For an extra 10 - 20,000 dong, you can move up to Tanqueray (also owned by Gordon's), Beefeater or Bombay in any bar in the city. At least you'll be getting a real drink.
If you find a stash of the Gordon's good stuff, buy it now, it will soon be a dinosaur according to Wikipedia (money saving). On the other hand, if you find the good stuff let me know and I'll the whole damn lot.

 
psychprof
psychprof on Nan n Kabab
September 28th, 2013 at 9:38 am

Difficult review to write as this restaurant is not exactly independent of the 37 Restaurant because they share the premises. 37 is all inside and Nan n Kebab is located outside on the rooftop patio. Guests can order from either or both menus.

FOOD: I think this deserves 4 stars. We had malai tikka (135,000 dong) afghani mutton (165,000 dong, chicken tikka (155,000 dong) and some garlic nan (35,000 dong). From the 37 restaurant menu we had fresh draught beer (20,000 dong) and fresh shrimp spring rolls (each roll 16,000 dong).

The malai and afghani chicken were very good, well cooked and wonderfully spiced. A very good balance of spices so that the food was tasty but no single flavour dominated. Generally it seems a meal comprises meat from two barbequed skewers.

The chicken tikka did not look like the picture on the menu and was not a traditional rendering as offered by Namaste or Khaazana. It was comprised of a quarter chicken (leg and thigh on the bone)and came without the reddish hue of the usual Indian spices. It was well cooked and certainly had plenty of 'heat' and flavoured with tamarind. I was sweating about half way through the dish.

The garlic nan was also good although we had finished our two first courses before it finally arrived.

Spring rolls were fine, slightly better than the average.

All dishes from Nan n Kebab looked the same, a piece of lettuce, slices of tomato, string sliced onions and just the one sauce (a green sauce that tasted like cilantromint), but it was refreshing and did not interfere with the taste of the meats.

Basically, we could not find any major faults with the Nan n Kebab side of this establishment apart from what is mentioned above, maybe a little more creativity with the presentation and perhaps a choice of sauces.

Unfortunately, by sitting inside the 37 restaurant we had to face the usual service problems. Note that Nan n Kebab have to use the 37 restaurant personnel so problems with service are not entirely their fault. Not what we would call English friendly/competent but you can muddle through by simply pointing to the pictures which have a number. The only other thing you need to add is holding up fingers to indicate how many of something you want.

Why only 3 stars?
The 37 restaurant is a large open concept place with seating being long wooden tables and benches. It reminded me of a Bavarian Beer Hall minus the Oom-Pah-Pah band. Not too cosy and far too loud for conversation as when the place filled up with the locals and their kids, the ambiance? was shattered by a constant dull roar. Had the aforementioned band actually been there, they would have had to burst their lungs trying to play above the crowd.
Although you can get wine and beer, no cocktails are on offer. Prices are, however, reasonable for the booze.
Service is about what you would expect from a VN restaurant, inconsistent and hard to attract waiters attention (this was Friday night and it was busy, so cannot complain too much about that).

Pricing: food was on a par with other Indian restaurants although it was nice to see reasonable portions. I would rather pay a little extra and be able to find the meat on my plate, instead of what is happening at the other Indian restaurants lately which is really small portions often hidden in a massive bowl of sauce/gravy.

Bill came to 699,000 dong for the food and 4 beers (you also have to pay 10% service/vat). Bills are separate (one from Nan n Kebab and one from 37) and are then added together.

Other considerations: my guest felt that it was difficult to find (but Nan n Kebab did send down a person to the mall to assist her) and she needed to make a long trip from downtown to get there. Avoid the elevators, its just an exercise in frustration and they were not working. Take the escalator to the right of the information booth inside the main entrance. Probably not worth the trip in order just to eat, but quite ok if you are living in the area or happen to be there shopping.

I would like to give Nan n Kebab 4 stars but the 37 restaurant with its lack of calm ambiance and attentive/efficient service spoils the eating experience. If they can work on having their own staff and could work at enclosing part of the patio (I absolutely detest eating outdoors under any circumstances)it would make eating at Nan n Kebab much more enjoyable.

I personally will go again as it is not far from where I live in Cau Giay and, as mentioned, I think the food is well done, interesting and offers variety not available in the exclusively Indian restaurants.
Perhaps it is not fair to penalize Nan n Kebab for the shortcomings of Restaurant 37, but I judge on the whole dining experience. If you are in the neighbourhood, give it a try, the food is worth it.

 
psychprof
psychprof on Mama Rosa
September 23rd, 2013 at 12:31 pm

A catastrophe.
Was in the neighbourhood and felt like some Italian food. Outside big neon sign screaming Pasta and Pizza so looked like it would do.

Inside, nice, clean, moderately upscale, starched cloth napkins, chandelier, marble, comfortable chairs and here endeth the good stuff.

First noticed the lady in traditional Italian costume (wearing au dai) that greeted me, which probably should have been interpreted as an omen testifying to the Italian origins of this restaurant.

Looking over the menu I opted for basic Italian. An Italian cream of tomato soup (105,000 dong) and the lasagna (185,000 dong). A carafe of house wine, 500ml at 290,000 dong.

A basket of bread sticks were brought and I was offered bottled water which I declined. Cocktails were a bit pricey with a gin and tonic being 110,000 dong, so just stayed with the wine.

Background music was most irritating. The tape or cd continually skipped such that it was nerve wracking, surprised how much a wonky cd can affect ambiance. Of course being an Italian establishment meant the background music was a collection of Spanish oldies with 'Guantanamera' (it's actually Cuban) being featured every six minutes. If the CIA really wanted to get confessions out of the prisoners in Guantanamo I suggest they import this cd and torment the prisoners with it. Works for me.

Tomato soup arrived, no garnish, no taste. Definitely not Italian pomidori and could have used salt, mixed spices and......tomatoes. Bland is an understatement. Makes Campbell's Cream of Tomato taste like a 3 star Michelin starter. It came surprisingly quickly which leads one to believe 'instant', 'canned' and 'microwaved'.

Just as my lasagna arrived my bread basket was taken away (I did not eat any with the soup)so I guess I was being cut off from grains and fibre. Luckily, the two persons who arrived after me were able to get it direct from my table to theirs. No pretense at all about providing a new and fresh basket to guests.

I can only say that any resemblance to lasagna and the dish I was served was entirely accidental. It was a complete and utter disaster. The bolognaise (tomato and minced beef sauce) was only on top and was a sprinkling of beef bits (which tasted like tuna)and no sauce. The top was lightly covered in some cheese. Cutting into the lasagna I realized that I had been served a bechamel soup. The entire dish comprised wet and falling apart lasagna noodles literally swimming in bechamel sauce, no wonder they brought me a spoon with the dish! No tomato/meat sauce to be found inside, just this white and tasteless cream mixture. No cheese inside either. Fortunately, they did bring a pot of grated Parmesan (the kind you get in the plastic bag at Big C) which I used generously in order to get some taste. Should have sent the damn thing back.

I could not get the wine to add anything to the meal and when I inquired as to what the house wine was, I was informed it was that old Italian favourite....Bordeaux. Not even an Italian house wine in an Italian restaurant. Another taste challenged offering, although it was both wet and red.

This was probably one of the worst meals I have ever had in Hanoi and the closest these guys have come to Italy is watching re-runs of AC Milan football games on tv. I found out that Mama Rosa's is owned by the same company that has that huge Vietnamese restaurant across the street on Le Thai To and all Vietnamese staff at Mama's are employed by it. Hence the manager dashing across the street with goodies from Mama's kitchen.

Dinner for 1 came to 609,000 dong due to the added 'service' charge of 29,000 dong. Just as well, the only tip I would have left was some advice on actually learning how to cook Italian.

Avoid this tourist trap, it can only survive due to desperate foreigners looking for an alternative to VN food along Hoan Kiem Lake. On my visit there were a party of 2 Americans, a party of 2 Poles and a party of 4 Russians. Ripe pickings.

One star for the grated Parmesan.

 
psychprof
psychprof on Taj Mahal Indian Restaurant
September 16th, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Went here based on one previous review and because we wanted an option to our regular Indian Restaurant which, has lately, fallen from grace in terms of quality and quantity.

First of all, it's difficult to find as Ta Hien is almost an alley rather than a street. Several other small establishments nearby and around the corner is Finnegan's Irish Pub.

Arrived on time and we were the only customers from 6pm to 7.30pm when we left.

This is a small place with an equally small and limited menu. Started with bottles of Tiger and Hanoi beer as there is NO WINE to be offered.

MENU: forget the pretty pictures about the tandoori oven (and therefore any hope of getting clay oven grilled chicken tikka or other favourites. THERE IS NO TANDOORI OVEN,somewhat problematic for an Indian restaurant and especially as we wanted to sample meals we had enjoyed elsewhere. Kind of like going to a Japanese restaurant and finding they can't do sushi.

We started with grilled shrimp with masala sauce (tomato and onion sauce) and found to our dismay that the 4 shrimp were in their shells and pretty messy to dissect and eat (and obviously not de-veined), cost 100,000 dong.

We also got what is called chicken tikka masala (don't know how you get that without a tandoori oven) so it was also 4 chunks of chicken in the same sauce. 100,000 dong.

We ordered the Saag which was chicken in a spinach sauce. Had to say that the 'green' was overly so and brought to mind the addition of food colouring. Not the most appetizing shade of green. 4 pieces again. 95,000 dong.

Basmati rice was fine but they do not do nan bread and so had to settle for the similar paratha bread instead. Rice around 60,000 dong and bread around 50,000 dong.
For dessert we shared a Gulab Jamun, two pieces in a very sweet sauce. 50,000 dong.

Overall, the tastes were fine, nothing outstanding but then nothing weak or overpowering.

Limited menu also does not categorize dishes by region so the menu is basically a pot-pourri of mostly well know dishes (except of course if you want tandoori or nan bread).

Dinner for two with two beers came to 600,000 dong.

When comparing prices, Taj Mahal is only slightly less expensive than Khaazana or Namaste (from 10,000 to 20,000 dong per dish)and given the location, limited menu, no wine and no tandoori, we cannot give this place more that two stars. It is simply not COMPLETE as an Indian restaurant option.

It does compare with the latest fad of our Indian restaurants in Hanoi, that is, smaller portions. It's certainly OK for a snack and a beer, but not what I would call sit-in dining.




 
psychprof
psychprof on Swing Cafe
August 12th, 2013 at 1:40 pm

This is the review for the dining room on the second floor of the Swing Nightclub previously reviewed.

Very nicely laid out, modern but comfortable with lounge chairs and sofas with cushions, marble top tables, interesting lighting and various photographs and souvenirs on the walls. Washrooms very modern and spotless.

Menu: a mix of Vietnamese and Western favourites. Typical food items but reasonable variety of foods. Soups, salads, hot and cold appetizers, mains, wine, beer and cocktails. Most expensive western dish is the Australian tenderloin steak at 289,000 dong, other mains from 95,000 to 219,000.
Food quality is all fresh but the western food items need to be tweaked to get the right cooking and flavours. Nothing we had was bad, just not quite up to standard international fare.

We sampled the steak, the lamb and the Vietnamese shrimp. My guest questioned the 'Australian' beef as it was a bit firm, my lamb chops were mismatched (one thick enough, the other too thin) so that only one chop was medium rare. Pepper sauce had a good bite to it. A half a dozen shrimp were termed 'OK' by my Vietnamese guest. Appetizers were actually very good for two (the cold meat platter with olives and the deep fried calamari in butter and garlic) and only fair for one (the Caesar salad was crispy fresh but the sauce lacked anchovies, garlic or mustard flavours.

Ordering drinks can be a bit of a problem unless you are having beer. Cocktails need to be made up on the third floor where the bar and nightclub are. Not only does this take a long time, the prices are the same as for the evening entertainment menu so that a simple gin and tonic comes in at 129,000 dong. A bit pricey for a dinner drink you can get anyplace for around 60,000.
Surprisingly, we were told that the bottle of wine we ordered from the nightclub menu (799,000) was reduced to 600,000 for the dining room. Too bad the same kind of consideration was not offered on the cocktails.

Service was quite good, perhaps the staff were not too familiar with serving foreigners, but they did try hard, were attentive and their English was good enough that my Vietnamese guest did not have to translate too much. That said, it is very important to check the server's bill before he heads off to the kitchen to place the order.

Overall a pleasant experience and worth going back. Swing Cafe is not intended to be a fine dining restaurant and it fits the same mold as Ciao Cafe. Fair prices, the total for three drinks, three appetizers, three mains and a bottle of good Cabernet was 1,600,000. Although the menu says that service and VAT are not included, we were charge neither. Thank you very much. It was a pleasure to leave a tip at our discretion.

Note that after dinner you can pop upstairs to the third floor for the live entertainment that is on every evening, Monday to Sunday.

 
psychprof
psychprof on Khazaana Indian Halal Restaurant
July 29th, 2013 at 8:25 am

I have to agree with Rupert in that our last visit on Friday evening was quite a disappointment and very unlike the meals and service we have experienced as regular customers over the past several years.
We made a reservation about four days prior to Friday and this was confirmed by the manager including reserving our favourite bottle of chianti.
On arrival we find that the Chianti was unavailable. Ok not a big deal, we can order a different bottle of Italian (the vin ordinaire of Italy goes well with Indian food).
Our biggest complaint stems from the fact that we order the same dishes almost every visit so we are quite aware of the standards that Khazaana has, until recently, kept intact. Our orders (the shrimp and the chicken tikka) were REALLY small pieces thus when cooked arrived hard and dry. We had expected the manager to arrive later but he did not, so we had the foresight to take photos of the portions so that we could show him. Kaustubh, the manager is really a hands on guy and he certainly would not have allowed our meals to be served like that. Not sure if he is on vacation or not, but leaving his well reputed business in the hands of the VN locals, just isn't working. Frankly, the kitchen had no idea what it was doing on Friday evening and this is quite a disappointment considering my previous reviews.
If I can get hold of Kaustubh again by email, I will try to find out what has happened to our favourite Indian restaurant, but I agree again with Rupert, you're only as good as your last meal and apparently his wasn't much to write home about either.
Sad. Sure hope this was a one-off.

 
psychprof
psychprof on Swing Lounge
June 27th, 2013 at 11:31 am

New venue nightclub so this review is only for the upstairs bar on the third floor.
Really interesting venue, well laid out, very professional stage and lighting, comfortable, great decor. A full New York style of upscale venue.

Positives:
- well-trained serving staff, attentive, customer service oriented, some speak English
- live entertainment every evening with a 6 piece local group and 3 vocalists,
superb lead man on tenor saxophone. two keyboardists, drums, lead and bass guitar, all competent, very 'tight' on several Western numbers
- drink menu reasonable, cocktails average 120K - 140K, no service or tax, a bargain as there is no cover charge for the free entertainment

Negatives:

- could use a few more English speakers
- music could utilize more of a Western music mix, got a bit tired of the Viet Pop scene and although the band was good the singers (with one exception) were no better than warblers at a local karaoke. To be fair, this is a high end Vietnamese nightclub (I was the only foreigner in the place)
- this place may not last as a reasonably priced venue. it was a Wednesday evening and the large room was 90% full. I suspect that it will become really popular and a cover charge may need to be employed to keep the queues from forming and compensating for patrons willing only to buy one drink (one guy and his date spent the whole evening nursing one drink)
- non-smokers beware, smoking is allowed and one of the fads in vogue is the 'hookah' smoking water pipe, although the aroma is sweet and not unpleasant. the venue is very well ventilated and air conditioned so non-smokers won't be lost in a fog.

There is also a dining room on the second floor with a menu of western and vietnamese dishes (a much more balance mix than the music upstairs). Will write a review on the dining room when we go back next week.

Definitely worth a visit, and as stated, worth a second one for me for sure.