Hooked on Vietnamese food after my first trip to the country I was keen to find somewhere a little closer to home to get my fix, so I was excited to hear about Bobby Chinn opening the House of Ho in London, a restaurant that offers a fusion of classic and modern Vietnamese food.
I’d actually first read about Bobby, an internationally renowned chef, during my trip to the south of the country and I had to wait a good few months before the opening date of his Soho restaurant was announced. As soon as the website was live my trip was planned, and on a cold, dark evening I trudged along pavements reminiscent of Ho Chi Minh City’s dimly-lit side streets to come to the neon sign that heralded House of Ho’s entrance.
Just like the food, the restaurant itself is a fusion on classic and modern design, with its inviting small local Asian eatery front juxtaposed with a sleek, modern interior.
Vietnamese inspired dishes
Now I love great street and market food in Asia, don’t get me wrong, but what you get at House of Ho is high-end food that you’d expect from a good quality London restaurant but with its heart clearly belonging to those roots.
Dishes included cold rice noodle rolls, Hanoi’s grilled five spice quails on crispy noodles, shaking beef, chicken potato curry and Vietnamese seafood Bouillabaisse.
Vietnamese noodle rolls
We started with the Light & Raw section of the menu, choosing Pho Cuon cold rice noodles rolls, with duck and mushroom fillings, which were a taste sensation. As those flavours hit my tongue I could envision myself back in Ho Chi Minh City and a big smile broke across my face. Moist and fresh with the fragrant mint clearly coming through, I often find that dishes you try abroad never taste as good at home, but here the flavours were just as I expected -or should I say hoped- they would be.
After devouring these I couldn’t wait to try out my main dish, which I’d already chosen before I’d arrived. My favourite dish during my Vietnamese travels was luk lak beef, better known as dancing, or shaking beef. This is because the story goes that the cook who first made it danced around, so when I saw this on the menu I knew that was it!
Although it was a slightly different take on the dish (the flavours were slightly different from how I remember them) the food was enjoyable and the meat itself was divine – perfectly cooked, the grass fed 21 day aged fillet beef was so soft you could cut it with your spoon! I tried to make it last as long as possible, but as you can imagine, my plate was empty pretty quickly!
The dessert menu may not offer any sweet Vietnamese dishes (ice cream, crème brûlée and chocolate cake), but I still partook, and the molten marou chocolate cake with its melting middle was the perfect ending to a delicious meal.
If you’re a fan of Vietnamese food or are looking to try something new, I’d definitely recommend House of Ho. I was disappointed that they didn’t offer one of the most popular Vietnamese dishes there: pho bo (beef noodle soup), and I would have liked a larger menu to peruse, however the food I did have was wonderfully fresh and tasty.
I’m sure you can find cheaper Vietnamese restaurants across the capital, but the prices aren’t bad for the quality of the food, so it’s well worth checking out.
House of Ho can be found at 57-59 Old Compton Street, London, W1D 6HW. More information and bookings can be made online.