So District Môt. On the former site of Chi Sing and from the people who brought us Si An Trà Café and Chén Chè Tea House. The design is like being whacked in the face with a bag of obvious.
It’s street food – so the whole place is meant to emulate that. I’ve eaten street food in Vietnam and the experience is really not complete without the stench of Durian, a table of expired canines piled high with an oblivious boisterous puppy frolicking happily next to it (which makes me think the Universe is not a nice guy). Oh and your eyelids should be stuck firmly open with sweat, so that to blink means to exert super human power. For good measure, there should be a street urchin circling around you trying to sell you a) a bottle of tap water, its seal deceptively but meticulously glued back together, b) what looks like the Rough Guide but inside contains blank pages (actually fell for this), c) a tour.
You’re not going to get authentic and that’s fine. If you can still get good.
But can you?
There were some dishes I liked at Chi Sing. Enough that I took some friends from London the winter before last. But the food was bland at best and plain old bad in other cases. And the service was obnoxious. That’s how it was with Chi Sing, I never knew which side of the coin I was going to get.
What to expect with District Mot? More of the same I believe.
I went for lunch, ordered three small dishes (€4 each). The green mango salad was in fact ripe mango salad with what looked like Mickey Mouse ears, delicious all the same – although fish sauce and lime juice could probably make styrofoam taste good.A minimalist version of banh trang nuong (these babies can be epic) or rice paper tacos. And finally because I’m not prepared to go weird (frog, silk worm) until I know what kind of kitchen I am dealing with: the deep-fried chicken wings. Two of them which I guess would make them €2 each. (Sharp intake of breath on that one) And you know what? The kitchen didn’t even bother to fry to order. The wings were all unrendered fat (very unattractive in a chicken wing), grease and they were cold. They got left behind.
Final verdict. I might go again, if I was in a Transit state of mind (which I rarely am) and I was in need of a bit of fish sauce love. I might get some really good food or I might get some passable food, it’s always going to be a toss up.