Thursday, 24 July 2008

Brother's Café, Hoi An

Shopping can be exhausting! But doing it in 35 degree (Celsius that is) heat and humidity, it can certainly wear down the most enthusiastic of us. So after much of our second day walking around town, Jo and I agreed to have quiet dinner at either the hotel restaurant or a restaurant we pass every time we walk up to the shops - Brother's Café. We opted for the latter when we walked out to dinner and little did we know that the ever quiet cafe was deceptively hiding a very busy restaurant behind in a French colonial building. Set in wonderfully lush well tended garden, the premises went down all the way to the river. It was very pretty with the central eating area set in a side building but as dinner service was in full swing, we were offered a candle-lit table by the river. Terribly romantic and very probably lost on the both of us :D This also wasn't going to be the cheap meal we had hoped for.

First up, drinks - an iced lotus tea for me and a banana smoothie for Jo. Probably a slightly odd choice of drink to go with a meal but she fell in love with banana smoothies when we served them when we checked into our hotel in Hanoi :) My tea was nice and refreshing in the muggy weather but as I'm no tea connoisseur, I didn't think it very different from the "normal" white/green teas. The fragrance wasn't as noticeable as jasmine tea, for example. Jo's smoothie was thick with blended bananas and she was happy with it.

We decided to have a plate of noodles each and get a side of veg to share. Jo got the crispy noodles with pork, which was stuffed full of pork and veg - snow peas, bamboo shoots, carrots, Chinese leaf, tinned button mushrooms and baby corn - sitting on a pile of deep fried egg noodles. Very tasty stuff with lots of "wok hei" - the smokey flavour a good hot wok imparts, if a little oily.

Our huge side of spicy stewed aubergine with vegetables came soaking in oil but was rather good. Big, soft chunks of aubergine and a variety of veg (quite similar to what went into the noodle dishes). It would have been lovely with some steamed rice.

I had the seafood fried noodles, which looks very much like the pork noodles that Jo was had. They were very generous with the seafood. Crunchy fresh prawns, squid and slices of fish. The veg was the same as the other portion of noodles with the addition of some dried shitake mushrooms. The sauce was ultra garlicky ... emm..ultra yummy.

It's no point coming here if you want a bargain meal but the food is very good, portions are huge, the ambiance is lovely and the waiting staff is very attentive. The house specialities are supposed to be the cau lau and white rose (prawn dumplings made from a translucent white dough and shaped like a rose) but we had that at stall in town for less a US dollar, so no point spending so much more at a place like this. We may have left with our purses a little lighter than had hoped but we had a really nice meal.

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