Saturday, September 24, 2005

Red Bridge, Hoi An, Vietnam

Red Bridge restaurant, Hoi An, Vietnam
Monday 24 September, 2005

We arrived at Red Bridge restaurant by boat - very impressive and what do you know - we docked by the red bridge with red hanging lanterns to guide our way. Stepping off the jetty onto the garden area, there were low intimate tables set up around the gardens with big pillow as chairs. We passed by these and were led up the stairs to the open air pavilion for dinner. Our host, the dapper Mr Hai, was a classic. We soon learnt that he enjoys his food (and alcohol) as much as the next person and was partial to a whisky or two or three.....and then enjoys riding his motorcycle into town to visit the nightclubs (but I digress..)

The atmosphere here is wonderful, attentive staff, well spaced courses and sensational food. We began our banquet with a selection of rice paper rolls and spring rolls (fried but very lightly) and a great selection of dipping sauces. The next dish was a favourite amongst the group, chicken and green papaya salad served with hard rice paper to use as a spoons - coat the rice paper with chilli paste and scoop up the salad - delicious!

The next dish was presented to the table in large green coconuts - the staff lifted the tops (like they were silver lids) to reveal a sweet coconut soup with prawns - the coconut inside was so soft you could scoop it out to eat - again delicious! We finished on claypots of marinated eggplant and and intriguing dish where you placed a tile over a sizzling hot fondue like bowl and you heated the rare meat by placing it on the tile. It was a slow process however the beef had been marinated in a fabulous hot sauce.

The only downside was the alcohol, if you don't drink beer, your only options are bad wine or straight spirits (they don't offer mixers).

The total cost for this feast - $30 Australian including a copious amount of alcohol.


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