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2nd floor, 51A Nguyen Khac Hieu, Ba Đình, Hanoi
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nguyen son bakery shop on thai ha street has recently opened, another wannabe in the home made bakery sweepstakes.
Upscale it wants to be according to the prices but not the service nor the variety. This location isn't
sure if it is a bakery or a European convenience shop. Lots of imported boxes of cereals, potato chips and other snacks, grossly overpriced candy (Mars bars are now up to 26,000 dong), and there doesn't seem to be anything that resembles on site baking apparatus.
The fancy cakes are trucked in and all seem remarkably familiar and similar to the cakes at every other bakery on the street including Paris Gateau.
Price for a pate chaud (with pork meat, not pate) is now 12,000 dong about twice the price of Kin Do although Kin Do usually sells out before I get there in the morning. An oily sodden quiche lorraine is 25,000dong. Nothing original and nothing frankly seems 'home baked' by any definition that I know of.
I've been here half a dozen times as it is just around the corner from my office and it's convenient on those hot and humid days when you really don't want to be out and about for any length of time.
The problem is that for these prices I have serious questions about the freshness of anything other than the buns and the breads, have never (even with a microwaved pate or quiche) received so much as a napkin to A) soak up the grease and B) wipe ones fingers, never received a plastic fork or spoon when taking away dessert. Kind of difficult mashing you way through a tiramisu cake using just your digits.
I know there are better Nguyen Son outlets that double as cafes but this location is a bit of a disaster. Prices aren't warranted for the quality which in my experience is generally only poor to fair. I think 50,000 dong for a bag of 20 miniature coconut cookies is pushing the limit. My dessert today (some kind of flan) has certainly seen better days and is in some kind of identity crisis trying to figure out if it is a custard, cream or cheese cake.
Service is sporadic but at least there is no one following you around. English is not spoken even though the bill is always printed in English. However, the place is spotlessly clean, air-conditioned and attractively designed. On the other hand, a bakery dealing in freshly made, home-made goods it isn't.
Too bad. I guess I'm going back to my lunch time Doner Kebabs.
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