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Vietnam Discovery - Restaurant, Santiago

From: andrew cooke <andrew@...>

Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2012 21:12:42 -0300

This was an interesting place, and something of a challenge to write about, as
I didn't actually enjoy my food, but want to go again...

It's down Loreto (the road that goes past the front of Bellas Artes, continued
North of the Mapocho; Loreto 321, about 5 blocks, just after Santa Filomena)
which isn't the fanciest part of town, but inside this is a smart place, with
prices to match (6-8.000 for a main course, while next door you can get a menu
of guatitas for 2.000).

Anyway, I arrived before Pauli at lunchtime (it opens at 1pm, which seems
oddly late, and I think I was one of the first to arrive at 1.30, but was soon
followed by others, mainly in business suits).  While waiting I ordered a
lemonade with merken (smoked, ground chiles) and albahaca (basil).  Which was
awesome.  The best fresh drink I can remember.  A life-changing event, almost.

The menu was varied and intersting.  I have no idea how "genuine" the
Vietnamese food is, but they had unpronouncable names and unusual
descriptions.  When Pauli arrived I ordered a baked fish with ginger (I think)
and vermicelli, while she went with noodles and seafood.

When it came, Pauli's looked great, and she enjoyed it.

Maybe I mis-understood the description for what I ordered.  It was a piece of
fish, nicely cooked, but rather plain (no sauce) and not so big.  And a plate
of lettuce (and mint) leaves with a small pile of fine noodles.  The idea,
apparently, was to make lettuce leaf tacos of the fish and noodles, and dip
them in the supplied sauce before eating.

I guess the concept sounds fine, written down.  But it was *not* a satisfying
meal.  I guess it would be OK if you were on a diet, or anorexic.  Although
even then, you'd have to deal with the mess - the lettuce leaves were not so
big, the noodles a bit dangly, and the resulting "tacos" not structurally
sound...

So that was that.  Total price (plus a juice for Pauli) came to 21.000
including tip (which is 10%, already on the bill).

If I had been a little more full, I would have been very happy.  The food was
interesting, the service good, and the lemonade excellent.  I think I was
simply unlucky with what I chose.  Next time I will ask the waiter to
recommend something a bit more solid.

Andrew

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