Green Tangerine has certainly acquired a name for itself as one of the few places to finely dine in Hanoi. It was won many praises since it opened 5 years ago but there have certainly been instances where diners have come away bewildered. However, given its reputation, I thought I should try it for myself.
The sense of arrival in the evening is definitely promising. Off Hang Be in the Old Quarter of Hanoi, entering a luscious courtyard and leading into a quaintly restored colonial house is definitely enticing. However, service did leave much to be desired since the 8pm diners like us got herded like sheep to a 2nd floor dining room which had NOT been set for the evening. Standing around, we waited as the staff hurriedly put tables and chairs together and slapping on tablecloths.
The menu was well written and everything sounded yummy and with the expectation clearly set, the food had to be excellent right? Wrong.
The appetiser of beef carpaccio topped with deep fried camembert was competent but nothing spectacular. The dressing did not extract the goodness of the beef and was rather flat.
The first main of duck breast and tomato quiche tasted well. But the poor choice and cut of duck made it taste like chewing old leather. Very unfortunate and I got tired and gave up towards the end of my one piece. I did enjoy the quiche though, very smooth and the tomatoes were fresh and sweet.
I ordered the grilled shrimp because I wanted to try the banana flower salad it came with. The shrimps were decent enough but the salad was way too tart. I did like the stewed apple cup it came it and ate all of the cup.
Dessert was the only saving grace and the molten chocolate cake befitted its label as a French restaurant.
Having been in Hanoi for a week, I suspect that the mixed reviews of Green Tangerine are probably a result of lack ability to consistently execute. The concept and menu are certainly exciting but much more needs to be done to ensure that the customer receives what his expectations are set to receive. Only then can it rank where it wants to be on the fine dining scene.