I recently had a delightful culinary experience in Hanoi. My friends and I decided to eat at Bobby Chinn one rainy night and it’s an experience I will never forget.
The place was almost empty because it was a weekday and it was late for dinner. We arrived at around 10 PM. Good thing the restaurant closes at midnight.
Bobby Chinn is located far from our hotel but cabs know how to get there because of its fame. I think an old house was renovated to become what is now the Bobby Chinn Restaurant in Hanoi and his home when he is in Hanoi. It’s in a residential area so there is hardly any public transportation there.
The bar is located on the first floor. There are many low couches and silk lines the walls which creates the illusion of a cocoon and a more intimate and exotic ambiance.
The dining area is on the second and third level. Silken walls create a room with different sized tables. The ecru silk lightens the atmosphere of the dining area but there’s no disconnect from the exotic motif going on downstairs. Also like below, paintings by famous local artists from Chinn’s private collection line the walls.
The menu shouldn’t be ignored. It is changed seasonally but we were there, Bobby wrote witty and sometimes outrageous messages on the menu, a reflection of how he is in real life. A curse word or two are thrown in which made me take a second look.
I decided to choose from the Vietnamese Tasting Menu which is a set menu for $35 ++. For starters I got Filet Mignon Spring Rolls with Chipotle Sauce, the Chicken Soup with Coconut and Lemongrass and Steamed Prawn Lotus Salad with Fresh Herbs and Chilli Lime Vinaigrette. Then Smoked Pork Belly in Caramel Sauce, Baked Cabbage, and Stir Fried Rice as main entrée. I picked Taro Che for dessert.
The Filet Mignon Spring Rolls was light, subtle, and crisp. The vegetables used were fresh. The chipotle sauce gave the spring rolls a more earthy kick. The Chicken Soup awakened the taste buds. It was refreshing and surprisingly light. The Steamed Prawn Lotus Salad was also very good. Vegetables were just as fresh and whet the appetite in preparation for the main dish. Smoked Pork Belly was superb. The pork wasn’t too fatty. It was expertly marinated so the caramel wasn’t overpowering the meat. Paired with the rich cabbage and fried rice, plus the La Joya Sauvignon Blanc, the pork shone through. Grounding, filling, and slightly sweet, Taro Che was the perfect ending to the meal.
By 11:30 PM we were the only diners there so the waiter accommodated our request to brighten the lights for photo ops.
As I mentioned earlier, public transport is hard to come by in the area so the staff called a cab for our party of 6.
I highly recommend that you dine at Bobby Chinn when you are in Hanoi. The food is excellent, the staff are professional and accommodating, and the restaurant itself is a must-see.
Bobby Chinn Hanoi
77 Xuan Dieu Street, Tay Ho District, Hanoi, Vietnam
(84-4) 934 8577/78