By Thúy Hằng
There's always a lot of pressure on me when I go out for meals for friends, as they think I know every restaurant in the city.
Recently, while searching for a place for dinner with a friend, I found a new Thai restaurant. As a big fan of Thailand's cuisine and its aromatic and spicy dishes, I was excited to find a new place to try with my friend.
COSY: Me Me Bistro's décor evokes the feeling of youth. VNS Photos Thúy Hằng
Located in a downtown area packed with dozens of coffee shops, Me Me Bistro (Vietnamese for the word ‘tamarind’ – an ingredient used in many Thai dishes) is a two-storey building with hip décor. As the inside area is not spacious, the first floor is just for a small bar counter and two tables which were fully occupied by a group of diners.
We were taken to the second floor which was quite noisy as most of the tables were filled up by young guests. Luckily there was a small table for two on a balcony of sorts, separate from the talkative diners and giving us a view of the street below.
The menu is not too large and features Thai dishes with a modern touch. You can also find some of the most famous traditional Thai dishes such as tom yum soup, pad thai and papaya som tam salad.
While I picked two traditional dishes – papaya som tam with dried shrimp, fried goby fish and cherry tomato (VNĐ85,000), and tom yum soup with prawns (VNĐ105,000) as our starters, my friend chose one of Me Me’s signature dishes – pork iberico moo ping with coconut toast (VNĐ189,000) as our main course.
To drink, I chose the mocktail called Me Me (ginger ale, tamarind, mint and lime, costing VNĐ80,000), while my dining companion tried the cocktail Me Đá (gin, tamarind, lime, mint and tonic, costing VNĐ140,000).
Unfortunately, too much ice made both the mocktail and cocktail washy within a few minutes. We couldn’t taste the ginger ale nor gin but just the super cold tamarind juice.
Papaya som tam salad. VNS Photo Thúy Hằng
We didn’t have to wait too long until a waiter brought our food. Honestly, at first glance, I was slightly disappointed with the papaya som tam because of its poor presentation.
Instead of a ceramic plate, the salad was displayed on a small enamelled steel plate with a cloddish pattern. Unlike its simple display, the salad was quite good as it featured the harmony of all the tastes of this fresh salad – sour, chilli, sweet and salty. The salad was a tasty treat to start our dinner.
Tom yum soup is my favourite, so I had high hopes for this dish. Unfortunately, the specific sour and spicy taste of the soup was not vigorous. The other ingredients such as cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, ginger, kaffir lime leaves and shrimp were not exuberant. Worst of all, the flavour and taste of the broth seemed like it wasn't made from fresh ingredients but a ready-to-cook paste.
MOIST SKEWERS: Pork iberico moo ping with coconut toast
The pork iberico moo ping with coconut toast was quite nice. The pork skewers were grilled perfectly so the meat was moist thanks to the fat. Although the pork was served with a peanut sauce, for me it was unnecessary because the meat was well marinated.
I have to applaud the chef’s creativity as dried coconut flakes were toasted together with the bread, making for a pleasant taste. However, for me, serving this together with pork skewers was too much. The bread would be better separate as an appetizer or even dessert because it is sweet.
Although mango sticky rice is my all time favourite dessert, my curiosity led me to order durian crème brulee with black sticky rice and mango (VNĐ85,000).
STAR OF THE SHOW: Durian crème brulee with black sticky rice and mango
With a cautious and careful manner, we scooped up the desert and took a bite of all the ingredients – the black sticky rice, the buttery crème brulee and a small mango cube. All our taste buds were treated well by this smooth and soft dessert. We both agreed the dessert stole the show.
While my meal at Me Me Bistro wasn't exceptional, I will come back with pleasure. At least its food can partly appease my longing for aromatic and spicy Thai food. VNS
Me Me Bistro
Address: 47A Nguyễn Hữu Huân Street, Hoàn Kiếm District, Hà Nội
Opening hour: 10am – 22.30pm
Price: Mocktail from VNĐ70,000, Cocktail from VNĐ140,000, Food from VNĐ55,000
Comment: Food is okay but not extraordinary. Venue is suitable for a meal with friends.