Que Huong Vietnamese restaurant is on Golden lane, just off Georges Street in Dublin. Golden Lane is the stretch that goes past the Radisson Blu and leads to St. Patrick’s cathedral. You can’t really miss the restaurant, i a lat occupies a large corner site with windows decorated with bamboos and green foliage, and it’s all very exotic and pretty.
Inside tables and chairs are well spaced and the kitchen is down the back of the room, where the action in the kitchen is visible through a hatch. There is a nice bar towards the front, and it is a pleasing room, and I have to say I found the exotic decor quite charming.
The Vietnamese owner Nam is a man of many talents, and in addition to the restaurant, he has Ireland’s only Vietnamese supermarket in Phibsboro, so the restaurant was an evolution of sorts; it seemed a logical step when he is the one importing all the authentic Vietnamese ingredients.
We were soon sitting with sparkling water, me and the Food Scientist, who has travelled in the Far East and knows her food. Having said that we are not experts, so it seemed sensible to ask Nam to pick some of his Vietnamese favourites. After finding out our tolerance for chilli, and whether we had any allergies - high and no – away he went to the kitchen.
We started with Canh Ga Sot Me and Banh Xeo; which if your Vietnamese is rusty are chicken wings in s sweet and sour tamarind sauce and a traditional Vietnamese pancake. These wings weren’t like any version of Chinese sweet and sour, they were altogether tangier and really delicious; a trip to Que Huong is worth it for these alone. The pancake was quite large and stuffed with pork, prawn, onion, bean sprouts and a little dish of the Vietnamese condiment Naoc Cham. First off the name means sizzling cake, named for the sound it makes when the batter hits the pan, and its real comfort food. The Naoc Cham is a mixture of water, fish sauce, chilli, lime and sugar, which is the go to flavour from Vietnam, it’s fairly ubiquitous.
Next we had a soup course of hot and sour prawn soup, which most people in Vietnam would eat almost daily. This one was spicy and pungent, and the flavours were cut with fresh lime juice which enlivened it no end.
Main courses came as a duo; Bun Cha ha Noi, which were vermicelli noodles with grilled pork and fresh herbs. Light and fresh, this was one healthy dish, using little oil, just the simple condiment again. Mixed seafood with fried rice was served in a half pineapple and looked spectacular. It was spicy and fresh, and had pieces of Pineapple through it.
We couldn’t manage dessert but finished with a Vietnamese coffee. These were served in a glass with a teaspoon of condensed milk at the bottom. Little individual percolators are place on the top of the glass and the coffee drips down. When it’s ready you simply stir the liquid and the condensed milk mixes with e coffee, sweetening and changing the colour. I had never had one before had one and we both liked them a lot.
There’s a lot to like about Que Huong; the flavours are authentic, the style is healthy and it is a nice change from other Asian styles. Certainly worth a visit, and it would suit a group perfectly.