Catching up with a friend from abroad, we thought we would try something different. We went for Vietnamese food at Hello Vietnam in Coventry. With excellent reviews on Google Map, it was a great start. Here’s what we had and what we think.
There are quite a few Vietnamese restaurants in Coventry just as there are in Birmingham. We chanced upon Hello Vietnam, purely because of it’s proximity to where we parked. We parked in West Orchards Car Park and Hello Vietnam is just a stone’s throw away, located opposite the West Orchards Shopping Centre among a row of shop houses. There is also Taste Vietnam and To Pho, both near the city center.
What we ordered
We ordered our own mains but also decided to order two additional starters to share. And, in true Asian dining style, we asked for the starters to come with our mains so could have a large spread of food to choose from. It did not take long before we got our drinks, a couple of variations of Vietnamese Coffee, followed by the food. Here’s what we had:
Starter: Summer Rolls with Prawns (Gi Cuốn Tôm)
One of our favourite starters every time we decide on Vietnamese food are the summer rolls. These rolls are made with fresh rice paper skin filled with salad, herbs, fresh rice noodles and king prawns. They are served with a hoi-sin-type sauce topped with crushed peanuts. The rolls were a bit small but the prawns were large and juicy.
The combination of soft rice noodles with chopped lettuce, finely grated carrots and cucumber, and succulent prawns make an interesting contrasting mouth-feel. The vege combinsation being completely crispy surrounded by the softness of both the noodles and the wrapper skin and the sudden burst of fresh prawn sweetness when you bite in to the prawn. All of this enhanced by the sauce and peanut crunch.
Starter: Saigon Pancake with Pork and Prawn (Bánh xèo Sài Gòn Bò và Tôm)
Our other starter was the Saigon Pancake with Pork and Prawn served with some salad and sweet chilli sauce on the side. This could easily be mistaken for an omelette as the pancake was tinged with tumeric which gave it a bright yellow colour.
Unfortunately the pancake itself was tougher and drier than it looks – a bit like overfried egg. The pancake filling itself however was tasty with a mix of pork, prawn and some stir-fried vegetables.
On its own, it would have been sufficient for a full meal. It was large and really quite filling.
PHO House Special Beef (Phở Bò Đặc Biệt)
It’s impossible to go to a Vietnamese restaurance and not order Pho, after all, it is their national dish. In true tradition, we ordered the Pho House Special Beef from the noodle soup menu.
Pho (pronounced ‘fer’) is a bowl of soupy noodles. It generally consists of flat rice noodles served in beef broth topped with sliced beef and served with a generous portion of fresh herbs (mint and coriander) and bean sprouts. For extra taste and heat, cut chilli and a lime wedge is also served on the side.
The house special at Hello Vietnam consisted of medium rare slices of beef and their own special beef meatballs. The stock was tasty although not as rich as in some other places. The noodles were fresh and nicely soft and this contrasted well with the beef slices that while thin were perfectly succulent. The meatballs were richly filled and generously flavoured making it additionally tasty in the soup.
Saigon Hawker Rice (Cơm Sườn Sài Gòn)
The server recommended this next main from the rice menu. The Saigon Hawker Rice comes with char-grilled pork chop, Vietnamese steamed meatloaf, fried egg sunny side up and fresh cut vegetables (lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers) served with steamed rice and sauce on the side. Fresh vegetables – a lettuce leaf, sliced cucumber, tomatoes and some pickled carrots and radish made up the rest of the plate.
Vietnamese BBQ Pork and Meat Balls (Bun Cha Ha Noi)
From their fresh noodle menu, we ordered the Bun Cha Ha Noi. Served on a woven rattan flat basket and banana leaf, a fresh portion of rice noodles topped with some fried shallots is placed alongside a salad of shredded leaves and carrots. This is complemented by a stew mixture of Vietnamese BBQ pork, meatballs with small bits of pepper for colour and lightly garnished with sesame seeds.
The pork stew is beautifully flavoured with hints of soya sauce and a richness that comes from stewing. The empty side bowl was for the ‘mixing’ of the contents of the dish – a mouthful of noodles, a spoonful of stew, topped with a generous helping of salad – mix it all up and enjoy.
Address: 43 Smithford Way , Coventry, CV1 1FY
|MON||11:00 AM – 21 PM|
|TUE||11:00 AM – 22 PM|
|WED||11:00 AM – 22 PM|
|THU||11:00 AM – 22 PM|
|FRI||11:00 AM – 23 PM|
|SAT||11:00 AM – 23 PM|
|SUN||11:00 AM – 22 PM|