In 2011 The Vietnam House was the first Vietnamese restaurant to open in Edinburgh. A family run restaurant showcasing traditional and authentic Vietnamese dishes including the national dish Pho. Situated on Grove Street the small restaurant could easily be missed. As we entered we were immediately welcomed by a smiling waitress. The restaurant is very homely and has a warm feel with lanterns hanging from the ceiling.
There were only four starters on the menu but all sounded very tasty. I opted for Goi Cuon which was fresh spring rolls. The rice paper was packed with an abundance of ingredients that were all fresh and added different texture and taste to every mouthful. Among the ingredients I could identify prawns, shredded chicken, vermicelli and mint. This was brought together with a rich peanut sauce. The dish tasted healthy but filling.
The fried spring rolls, ‘Cha Gio’, were also being well received. These were filled with meat, shrimp, vermicelli and mix vegetables again wrapped in rice paper but then fried to give a very crispy coating. This was served with a garlic chilli sauce which was lighter than the peanut sauce and went with the fried spring rolls perfectly.
For main course I had ‘Xoi Ga’ which was also described as Lotus chicken. This was presented beautifully. Succulent shredded chicken, sweet caramelised shrimps, juicy shitake mushrooms, fresh mixed herbs and glutinous rice all wrapped and steamed in lotus leaves. The dish was very aromatic and opening the lotus leaf also added a touch of theatre. There were two side components to go along with the chicken; a fresh spicy salad and a tasty garlic dipping sauce. On the whole the dish was really flavoursome and moreish.
Pho Bo Noodle Soup, was being tucked into also. This is a Vietnamese signature dish which was fragrant and rich in flavour. The soup was delicious and packed with tender beef, noodles and vegetables. The menu also claimed that it is actually good for your health due to medicinal properties of the ingredients.
Pho Bo Noodle Soup
I was feeling adventurous and fancied trying the dessert of the day, ‘Chè Khoai Lang’, a dish unique to Vietnam that i would describe as a take on rice pudding but made with sweet potato. The dessert was a little on the heavy side and did taste a little strange; however, I couldn’t stop myself going back for more.
Chè Khoai Lang
The other diners had Coconut Ice Cream served on a coconut shell. The ice cream was packed with coconut and was very smooth and creamy; simple but delicious.
Coconut Ice Cream
I really enjoyed my visit to The Vietnam House. It is not trying to be anything special, just serve fresh traditional Vietnamese food. However even though it may not appear the most up to date dining room, it is special as the food speaks volumes and the service is very friendly. It is a restaurant that makes you feel immediately relaxed and at ease. Somewhere that I can see myself going back to time and time again.
Bill for 4 : £75 (BYOB )
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