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The Curry Bar curries mediocre favour

Update: November, 03/2014 - 13:38
Aromatic: Green Thai curry features basil, lemongrass and toothsome chicken.

Those looking for curry in a hurry can take advantage of The Curry Bar, a new eatery in the Tay Ho neighbourhood. Lucy Sexton reports.

Down Tay Ho Street of the Tay Ho District exists another iteration of Ha Noi's increasing curry offerings-and that's about the best way to sum up the experience, just another addition to the scene.

The Curry Bar is the six-month old little sister of the Hachi Ju Hachi restaurant, which keeps a watchful eye over Ho Tay (West Lake) from the heights of Xuan Dieu Street. Run by the same owner and the same chefs, The Curry Bar is, as the name suggests, a curried-up menu that serves both Indian and Japanese curry. Oh, and two Thai curries that feel like an afterthought.

The restaurant offers cheaper, though not cheap, fare to Japanese and other expat customers who frequent Hachi Ju Hachi but have a curry itch to satisfy. The food arrived within eight minutes. That can be both good and a bad sign. If you've got an itch, speed is definitely a good thing.

Sampler: This platter includes several types of curry along with bread and rice.

The Thai green curry (VND95,000) came in a painted ceramic pot which was not only a nice touch, but also kept the food steaming hot for the duration of the meal.

The flavours definitely spoke of Thai cuisine: basil, lemongrass and a nice spice control that hit the back of the throat rather than the tip of the tongue. Vegetables were the usual suspects and the chicken was really well cooked, juicy and satisfied my mouth's "chew" nerves.

If you've ever eaten green curry from one of Bangkok's many street food stalls, you know the authenticity and burst of flavours cannot be matched. The Curry Bar, however, does a good job of assuaging one's cravings until the next Air Asia flight brings you back.

The chicken tikka masala platter (VND100,000), accompanied by an unremarkable side salad and side of aloo gobi masala (a potato and cauliflower curry), was not as good even though it's one of the most popular dishes. The flavours were so mild as to not really register on the palate. But the food was hot, the sticky rice and the aloo gobi masala at least had enough salt to encourage several returns of the fork.

Mix of flavours: The Curry Bar is, as the name suggests, a curried-up menu that serves both Indian and Japanese curry. Oh, and two Thai curries that feel like an afterthought. — VNS Photos Viet Thanh

The portions were fair, unless you are used to American boat-sized plates, and definitely could satisfy a West Lake lunch craving. (They deliver to a 5km radius for those who can't leave the office.) The menu is also big enough to satisfy those seeking teriyaki dishes or typical Indian and Japanese appetisers.

The Curry Bar

Address: 32 Tay Ho - Quang An, Ha Noi

Tel: 04-6295-0033

Dish price range: VND75,000 - VND180,000

Dishes to try: Thai green curry, aloo gobi masala

Comment: Indian, Japanese and Thai curries for mid-priced office lunch

However, the prices were a bit high for such inconsistent food.

If you want a bit more attention paid to your food for the same price or even lower, I'd suggest Foodshop 45's consistently yummy lunch set (VND95,000). Foodshop 45 has a diverse menu, the food and decor are more authentic and the views of the lake are a nice escape.

If you want a fast, hot, affordable and convenient solution to a curry craving, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend The Curry Bar.

But I'd first ask if you'd take the six-minute bike trip down Yen Phu to Truc Bach for an actually enjoyable lunch date. — VNS

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