Originally published on Broadsheet.
Called New Quarter, a more refined version of the Vietnamese restaurant is opening this month with a dedicated ribs and wings menu, and the debut of desserts.
For the first time, a Commune Group venue is setting up north of the river. The group behind Tokyo Tina, now-closed Saigon Sally and Hanoi Hannah will open the latter’s newest outpost in Richmond next week. At the helm of Hanoi Hannah New Quarter is executive chef Anthony Choi, who gave Broadsheet an exclusive insight into the new menu, which differs from the Elsternwick and Windsor shops.
“The New Quarter menu is certainly more mature than the other restaurants’. The food has classic Vietnamese flavours, but we have applied a series of different techniques to them,” says Choi, who previously worked at Tokyo Tina after time spent in the kitchens at Circa and Cumulus Inc.
Although the food here is more refined than that of its predecessors, the menu is mostly still designed to share, and much of it made to be eaten by hand.
Alongside the regular offering of rice paper rolls rolled to order, keep an eye out for the pho coun, Choi’s favourite starter. It’s wok-tossed lemongrass beef and Thai basil rolled in a thin rice-noodle sheet, topped with crispy shallots.
New items include barbeque corn rolled in kaffir lime, chilli, shallots and drizzled with lime, and a Hanoi-style spring roll filled with pork that’s been pounded together with garlic and wood ear mushroom, then wrapped in rice paper and flash fried.
Ribs and wings
“People can also come to Hanoi Hannah for ribs and a drink,” Choi says.
He’s referring to fried fish wings (the type of fish varies day to day); grilled beef ribs with lemongrass salt; chargrilled or fried chicken ribs, the latter served with maple Sriracha.
“The techniques we apply to these dishes come from all over the world,” Choi explains. “We do a lot of basting in-house, including the beef brisket that goes into the banh mi, but the highlight dish from our essentials section would be the barbeque chicken.
“We put the chicken in a bag filled with coconut juice and cook it sous vide. We then add lime and pepper salt and barbeque it.” It’s served with nuoc mam cham, a classic Vietnamese combination of fish sauce and chilli, and you can order it by the half or whole.
Noodles and rice
The chicken pho and mushroom pho at New Quarter echoes those found at the Elsternwick and Windsor locations, but the beef pho has been turned up a notch, with braised short rib and ox tail.
Other new noodle dishes include rice noodles with barbeque sticky pork, grilled pineapple, cucumber and pork crackling.
There are five salads on the new menu, but “it’s hard to go past the crispy soft-shell crab salad with green mango”, says Choi. It’s topped with chilli caramel and a garlic crumb.
New Quarter will be the first Hanoi Hannah to offer dessert.
The Tirra-Mi-Sally is a Vietnamese-coffee macaroon sandwich that pays homage to Saigon Sally, which was recently transformed into Thai restaurant BKK. Otherwise, finish your meal with the Banh Bo Nut – fried doughnuts and coconut sorbet.
FULL OPENING MENU
King fish tartare tossed with pineapple, sorrel and fresh green tomato
Pho Cuon – wok-tossed lemongrass beef rolled in thin rice-noodle sheet and Thai basil, topped with crispy shallot
Crispy pork belly next to soft vermicelli net and Vietnamese chimichurri
Barbeque corn rolled in kaffir lime, chilli, crispy shallot and lime
Salt-and-pepper calamari wok tossed with chilli, garlic and nuoc mam
Hanoi-style spring roll – pork pounded with garlic, wood ear mushroom wrapped in rice paper and flash fried
Vegetarian spring roll, cabbage, onion, nuoc mam
Prawn spring roll
Rolled-to-order rice paper rolls: Tuna sashimi and wasabi mayo /grilled lemongrass chicken/peking roasted duck and peanut hoisin/charred asparagus and enoki mushroom
Ribs and wings
Fried fish wings (of the day), chilli jam and lemon
LA-style grilled beef rib, lemongrass “crack” salt
Late-night chargrilled chicken ribs and salt, pepper, lime
Sticky fingers fried chicken wing and maple Sriracha
Noodle & rice
Banh uot – shredded rice crepe sheets topped with sliced pork terrine, spicy fish cake, fried egg and many herbs
Wok-charred smoky glass noodles, chicken, apple eggplant, white pepper
Barbequed sticky pork, cucumber, grilled pineapple, pork crackling, rice noodle
Crispy veg spring roll tossed with parilla and Vietnamese mint, pickled chilli, shallot oil
Tender poached chicken pho, coriander, crispy shallot
Braised short rib beef pho, ox tail, sawtooth coriander, Thai basil
Grilled mushroom pho, coriander, spring onion, star anise and cinnamon (V)
Lemongrass chicken, pickled carrot, scallion oil, green nuoc mam on soft vermicelli
China Town crispy pork fried rice, Chinese sausage, pineapple
Fried rice, mushroom, snake beans, crispy tofu skin
Crispy soft-shell crab, green mango, chilli caramel, garlic crumb
Grilled calamari, pomelo, lots of herbs, sesame crackers
Coconut-poached chicken slaw, wombok, Vietnamese mint and crunchy bits
Wok-tossed lemongrass beef, betel leaf, roasted rice, crunchy celery, peanuts
Grilled mushroom and eggplant salad and sweet garlic soy and perilla
Cha Ca – cook at the table sizzling rockling fillets, turmeric, dill with fresh vermicelli
Barbequed chicken basted in young coconut juice and lime-and-pepper salt and ginger nouc mom and red chilli smashed with lime. Half / whole
Roll your own – tamarind caramelised pork hock, pineapple, chilli salt and a mountain of fresh herbs.
Fresh tomato, Thai basil, chilli nouc mam, crispy garlic
Green papaya, Vietnamese mint, bean shoot
Chinese broccoli wok tossed with shiitake and sweet soy
Crispy rice crackers and chicken salt
Tirra-Mi-Sally – Vietnamese coffee macaroon sandwich
Banh Bo Nut – fried doughnut with coconut sorbet
Hanoi Hannah New Quarter opens in mid-Feb at 81–83 Swan Street, Richmond.
Photography: Jake Roden.