Cong Ca Phe (Vn – Cộng Câ Phê), was started in Ha Noi in 2007 with the first store located at 17 Trieu Viet Vuong Street in what is called the French Quarter of Ha Noi (the French Quarter lies just South of the Old Quarter). Trieu Viet Vuong Street is the traditional café street in Ha Noi. The decorations in the “Cong Ca Phe” cafés can be described as hip rustic with a lot of metal and concrete mixed with reclaimed wood and a cool interior design. Of course at the center are the different, innovative and oh so delicious coffee and other drinks, and bites too for that matter.
The name is derived by using the first word, “Cộng” of the full name of the country, “The Socialist Republic of Vietnam” Vn – “CỘNG HOÀ XÃ HỘI CHỦ NGHĨA VIỆT NAM” and THEN adding the Vietnamese word for café “Câ Phê” – that makes – Cộng Câ Phê. Read more on their website here.
Cộng Câ Phê is expanding throughout S/E Asia and now has cafés not only in Vietnam but also in S Korea, Malaysia and Indonesia. Here are the locations.
The restaurant at The modern is in the Switch house, or as it is now called “Blavatnik Building”. It is on Level 9 of the building. The old restaurant in the boiler house was of course superior as far as the views go. That restaurant still has the best views, but for some unknown reason the higher quality food is now served in the new restaurant. They have made an effort in working with what they have by raising the floor level up slightly, so as long as you chose your seating wisely and stay away from sitting by the windows, you will have some views if you face the windows.
We were happy to see that the kitchen has revamped the offerings for the the ones of us that are Vegan/Vegetarian eaters. The current chef goes beyond the previous usual Risotto, and the dishes are excellent, truly Vegan/Vegetarian fine dining. We started with the ‘Red Radicchio Ravioli, Amaretto Sage, Burnt butter’ paired with a Sercial 10 Yo, Henriques & Henriques, Madeira, Portugal.
This was followed by the ‘Herbed Gnocchi, Creamed wild Mushrooms, Spinach, Burrata’ and this was a real nice appetizer with superb flavors. The main dish wine pairing was a white ‘Fiano de Avelino, Ciro Picariello, Campania, Italy. We also had the excellent bread and butter to accompany our meal, super good bread!
Dessert consisted of ‘Chocolate mousse, Honeycomb, Salted caramel’ we did not do the wine pairing with the dessert but opted instead for a cup of single shot espresso and a glass of 30 Yo Armagnac which was superb and a very good value as compared to a similarly aged Cognac.
Jamie Oliver is a ‘celebrity chef’ most known for his efforts to revamp school food around the world and in England in particular. His cooking could be described as no frills everyman food, and the prices are affordable. The atmosphere in the Soho/Piccadilly Circus location is more old school English pub than Italian restaurant as far as the decor goes. It could be labelled cozy with the low ceiling height and dark wood furniture, the place is on the dark side with small windows that don’t let in too much light.
Jamie’s Italian does serve a good Aperol Spritz and that is a good way to start up your Italian dinner, just like the Italians do. The main dish we had was a Vegan/Vegetarian – Veggie Tagliatelle Bolognese. It was not the flavor explosion that one could have expected from a chef of Jamie Oliver’s stature. Perhaps he is too focused on the meat dishes which I must assume is better than the veggie dishes at his places, I can’t see why people would keep coming back if they weren’t.
The most redeeming dish of this place is the dessert, in this case – Epic Chocolate Brownie – From menu ‘Rich chocolate sauce, salted caramel gelato & caramelised popcorn’ it is very good.
Prices are moderate and here is a link to the web site with locations, hours, menu etc.
bohdigreen may very well be the best vegetarian/vegan restaurant in the world, the dishes are extremely innovative and I have never tasted anything like it anywhere else. The food is truly outstanding and I would highly recommend visiting if you are anywhere within the area, it is worth traveling for if you want a culinary experience like no other, and it is all made from whole foods. The dishes below were all had during lunch which currently ends at 16:00 and then the restaurant reopens for dinner at 20:00, but check for current hours on the website! Prices are very reasonable and the atmosphere is vibrant even during lunch.