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Directions: Between Ly Quoc Su and Phu Doan, just south of Hang GaiPhone: +84 4 3938 1588
I had a bad experience actually getting a feeling that I was discriminated against as a local girl. I came there to see a friend, expecting it to be a great place as I think those big fancy restaurants frequented by foreigners should have a nice service.
As I got my friend's message that he was on the first floor, as soon as I entered the gate, I felt like I was stopped by the guy (should I call him attendant or waiter I don't know the word). I told him I was looking for a friend who was on his own on the first floor.
The guy just told me plainly that there was no guy sitting alone in here and I went to the wrong place.
He didn't even try to help me find him or ask me to call him again but just plainly say I entered the wrong place. Still I wondered how he could be that sure that I took the wrong place, even when I told him I went to Madame Hien and it was the right place.
I was almost stopped at the gate area, then waiting there for a while until I could reach my friend on the phone.
Actually he's on the second floor.
I don't know why I don't feel welcome and treated badly. Maybe the way I dressed that day, not too bad, just not fancy.
It was a real bad experience and you can tell Im still mad at it, again, after half a year.
I had very high expectations for Madame Hien. After all, it is housed in a beautiful villa, there is an open kitchen, and the owner is a famous chef. Unfortunately, it was probably one of my most disappointing dining experiences in Vietnam.
The problem with Madame Hien is that it promises so much yet delivers so little. While I appreciate the décor and the food hygiene and the courteous service, the Vietnamese food on offer here is just bad. It is uninspiring and is too bland at times or too salty on some occasions.
We had 6 people and ordered a lot of dishes to share family style. Among the dishes I remembered were the fried spring rolls, stir-fry chicken cashew, caramelized pork, clay pot fish and a crab-based broth with Vietnamese vegetables. The spring rolls were decent – not amazing but certainly quite nice. The chicken was the best dish, but all other dishes were disappointing. The caramelized pork was all fat – I understand that pork belly is fatty, but this dish was almost inedible lest I wanted to tempt a heart attack. The clay pot fish was full of bones and I gave up after two bites. The broth was definitely the worst I’ve had in my life – it was so salty I thought I was gargling salt water for my sore throat.
Our group included 4 Hanoians, one foreigner who has lived in Hanoi for several years, and one foreign tourist. The 4 Hanoians all agreed that the food was bad and would not be appreciated at their houses. The foreigner who has lived here a while thought it was not great, but edible – a sanitized version of Vietnamese food for the less adventurous tourists. The tourist thought it was okay – maybe he was being polite.
Just out of curiosity, I asked my friends who had been to this restaurant for their opinion and it seemed like the Vietnamese do not like it so much while the foreigners thought it was pretty good. I personally would never go here again for the food – it is rare to see such disappointment from a well-reviewed restaurant on TNH.
The good: awesomly delicious food!
The bad: the service
The ugly: the service
I went here for lunch today and had the set menu for 200,000vnd. You get a choice of a starter, main, and dessert. I started with the grilled oysters which were wonderful and then moved on to the grilled chili squid which was outstanding! The desert offerings were limited and nothing exciting, and I had the cheese. Despite the uninspiring dessert, the starter and main were terrific and definitely a good deal for 200,000.
The service, however, was shockingly bad. I arrived at 11:45 and was the first table. I had my drink order and food order taken pretty promptly and then waited and waited and waited for my starter-- grilled oysters should not take a long time. The couple seated next to me waited 10 min. and when no one came to even give them a menu they got up and walked out in frustration. After I had finished my main course my empty, dirty plate sat in front of me for 20 min. before it was cleared away. The other table seated near me had to ask 3 different times if they could give their order. And this was when it wasn't crowded, there were a total of 3 tables seated in the courtyard.
Its such a shame, because the food is really delicious and the setting beautiful. If they can train their staff and provide decent service, this place would really be a gem.
I'm also a fan of the set menu lunch at Green Tangerine (275,000 for 3 courses). Comparing the two, the starter and main at Madame Hien were far superior (while the dessert offerings at Green Tangerine were more interesting). But the service at Green Tangerine is so much better than Madame Hien that I'll likely be going back to the Tangerine instead.
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