Review of 'Hoang Lan'

Living a short distance away from Askew Road there is really no excuse for not availing ourselves of the local shops. For the most part we do but there are some restaurants that we have neglected, Hoang Lan being one. Though, having said that, it is not been around that long occupying the former location of Japanese restaurant Sagano next door to local Thai restaurant “Som Tam” (another neglected), so we have a bit of an excuse but we decided on a Friday to finally give it a go.

As with most restaurants in the area Hoang Lan obviously does a huge business in take-away to the extent we had to knock to have them unlock the door despite arriving an hour after their opening. We were the only diners for much of the time in the small, 10-12 table simple rectangularly shaped restaurant with bar/counter at the back. The decor is minimal with only a few pictures from Vietnam on the walls. There was only the one server who let us chose our table (by the window) and delivered our menus. Not exactly friendly service but certainly not rude.

The simple three page laminated menu is divided much as you might think with “Starters”, “Soups”, “Fish Dishes”, “Sizzling Dishes”, “Noodle Soups”, “Stir Fried Dishes”, “Rice Dishes”, “Special Dishes”, “Side Dishes” and “Drinks”, laid out like a typical oriental take out menu. In fact most of the dishes looked like what you might find in any Chinese restaurant so we had to look quite hard to pick options away from these clichés. Most dishes are a particular style or feature a particular ingredient then have options for what meat you would like (or chose vegetarian, which appeared to be available throughout). The prices seemed slightly high for me, but I don't often get a takeaway so they might be about par for the course.

We started with “Salt and Pepper Squid” (£8.50) and “Vegetarian Spring Rolls” (£5.50) which arrived quite quickly. Both dishes came with the same sweet/sour dipping sauce and both, it has to be said, lacked a lot of flavour. The squid was cooked perfectly and delivered to the table hot and crispy but, oddly, lacked the copious amounts of salt and pepper you would normally expect. The spring rolls were small, served cut in half and, again, fresh, but lacking any amount of ingredients flavourful or otherwise.

Starters

For our mains I chose (Ho Fun) “Flat Rice Noodles” with “mixed meat” (£9.50). The “mixed meat” here included a couple of (welcome) prawns as well as chicken and beef. The noodles were cooked well and the dish was, nicely, not too oily. But, again, the flavour here was missing despite the occasional slice of hot pepper (yes, hot, but just hot…no other flavour).

Ho Fun - Mixed Meat

Our final dish was the only one labelled Vietnamese on the menu “Vietnamese Curry” with chicken (£8.50) and this was by far the most flavourful with a deep, rice sauce and nicely cooked vegetable and chicken. Our side order of “Jasmine Rice” (£3.30) soaked up a lot of the sauce though it could have been just plain rice as it offered no Jasmine flavour of any kind.

Chicken Curry

I had a pot of Jasmine tea which, as £2, was probably the biggest bargain on the menu with a good quantity of actual Jasmine leaves seeping into the hot water. My companion had a Saigon beer which was reasonable at £3.50.

Service throughout was efficient but hardly friendly. The entire bill came to almost £45 including a service charge of 10% automatically added to the bill. A bit more than you might expect considering we only had four dishes but not OTT.

An average takeaway with average food at an average price. Not a disaster but certainly underwhelming and disappointing…but then, there are other places to try nearby…

Rating:

Review Date: 2020-02-07


Cuisine: Vietnamese

Address: 129 Askew Road, Shepherd's Bush, London W12 9AU ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Stamford Brook

Location: London (England) - Shepherd's Bush

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Telephone: +44 (0)20 3663 4217

URL: http://www.hoanglan.uk/shepherdsbush/