Like any lover of food, when a new restaurant opens up in Adelaide, I’m on to it in a flash. After attending the glossy launch of Madame Hanoi at Adelaide Casino (the space formerly belonging to the awkward Loco bar), I had promised myself I’d be back for a meal.
A complete transformation of the space has occurred, and if you have been to the casino previously, you won’t believe your eyes. A new mezzanine level has been added to give the venue a great open area upstairs, while the narrow sections below which sit on either side of the heritage-listed former train station ticketing windows, form cosy areas to enjoy drinks or shared plates with your friends.
An incredible two story Emma Hack artwork donimates the entire venue, ensuring no guest leaves there without a good whack of Adelaide culture.
When I turned up there for lunch with some friends, my first mistake was thinking I could book a table. Unless you have a group with 8+ people, you just have to roll up and hope for the best. We were lucky and just squeezed in. If you aren’t so lucky, the casino’s other new restaurant – Sean’s Kitchen – won’t be much better as it’s pretty much booked out a month in advance. I’ve found Ginza Miyako on North Terrace at the Stamford is an easy and delicious option when you’re stuck getting a table in that area.
The menu at Madame Hamoi is fantastic. There is no doubt the head chef Nic Watt and his kitchen team know what they’re doing.
Australian born, Nic Watt’s passion for cooking was fostered at catering college in New Zealand before honing his skills at the Park Hyatt in Tokyo, Japan.
His understanding of Japanese cuisine teamed with his extensive travel and experience means diners at the restaurant won’t walk away disappointed.
Just don’t make my second mistake, and invite someone who has greatly different taste in food. This is a place to share your food with your friends. We tried to order separate meals due to my friend’s selective tastes (they didn’t eat seafood or spicy food), however the dishes don’t really work as individual plates.
The crispy pork belly with vietnamese herbs, hoisen sauce and lettuce cups (heo quay cuon rau) was easily the best thing we ordered. It’s pretty much all pork though, so make sure you order some sides to accompany it. And there is way too much meat for one person, so again, share share share!
We also tried the spencer gulf prawns, banana blossom, pineapple, green chilli, kaffir lime leaf (goi bap chuoi) which was tasty but not terribly filling, so probably best when ordered with something more substantial.
The crispy confit duck salad with watermelon, vietnamese mint & hoisin (goi vit) was also fantastic.
If my group were less picky, we probably would have tried their suggested options which are highlighted on the menu with little flowers, which is a $45pp combination otherwise there is also a set menu for $55pp (smaller) or $65pp (larger).
We finished up with a shared dessert of marou chocolate ganache, roasted banana ice cream, condensed milk jelly & palm sugar peanuts (so co la chu nhat). It was heaven-sent. I’m not a dessert person, but this was worth making an exception to the rule for. A must-try.
Ultimately, it’s definitely a place to put on your list if you want to catch up with friends and eat some good food – just make sure you leave the picky eaters at home!
(breakfast, lunch & dinner)
(lunch & dinner).