In a little back street called Fish Lane, hides a gem of a cafe called Hello Please. Specialising in Vietnamese street food, dishes like spring rolls, dumplings, chicken ribs, banh mi, salads, curry, rice paper rolls, pho and bun grace the menu, all ingredients fresh and nourishing, and making for a difficult choice because every dish sounded tempting.
We arrived on a sunny Sunday lunchtime and the friendly waitress gave advice on the menu wile she seated us. We sat on the tables in the courtyard where an impressive mural of Ali fills the opposite wall of the gym/boxing club.
We chose to drink the house soda which was a lovely refreshing mix of lychee and lemongrass. For our food choices we picked a soup dish each and two plates to share – the chicken ribs and the dumplings.
The dumplings were a bit quirky – not wrapped in a traditional rice flour dough, but wrapped in betel leaves and filled with full flavoured beef. Very nice both in flavour and texturally and a lot more filling than originally expected.
The chicken ribs were an absolute standout dish, with such a beautifully spicy and very addictive crispy coating, succulent meat and a soy dip. Yum – I could have eaten a whole bucket of the ribs alone.
My Bun Bo Hue was spicy with a lemongrass broth, pork belly, beef brisket and fine vermicelli noodles. The broth was intense and satisfying with a liberal sprinkling of herbs, mint, basil and beansprouts.
My partner chose the Pho Ga which had thicker noodles, succulent chicken and an equally suitable range of aromats and beansprouts. He also chose kimchi – I am not a great fan of kimchi myself, but I did try this house made version which was a little salty but much more palatable to me than the regular versions, which can be quite intensely flavoured.
All in all it was a lovely lunch and gave us a nice Vietnamese food fix. I always find Vietnamese broths very nourishing, especially when I have previously overindulged or am feeling tired – they seem to have magical properties which give me a lift.
Hello Please is friendly and satisfying and puts an emphasis on fresh and bright flavours, expertly put together to make a feast for the eyes and the soul. Give it a try – those chicken ribs are to die for.