Prahran's favourite nouveau-Vietnamese restaurant, Hanoi Hannah, has been bursting at the seams. So, to relieve some pressure, the team has taken over a nearby Indian place and converted it into a dedicated takeaway shop. “We jumped all over it,” says HH co-founder, Simon Blacher.
Known as Hanoi Hannah Express, the new shopfront will serve all the restaurant’s classics – rice paper rolls, pho and vermicelli salads – plus a few new creations. “We’re going to take the traditional Vietnamese bánh mì and give it a modern twist,” says Blacher.
More new variations on the old favourite will include roast duck with citrus slaw and crispy pork belly with pineapple salsa. A selection of Vietnamese stir-fries will be introduced, with new dishes such as coconut marinated chicken, stir-fried with lemongrass and garlic and served on top of a bed of soft vermicelli.
The outlet is designed to pump ‘em out fast, with an almost drive-thru service for hungry people on the run. Customers can order online, over the phone or via a new app. Once dinner’s ready, a Hannah Hannah employee will dash outside with a mobile pay-pass unit and send you on your way. “You can literally just drive up and we’ll throw food out the window at the car,” says Blacher.
And, if you can’t even be bothered to pick it up, home delivery is on the way. “Delivery is coming, but straight off the bat we wanted to get everything right, then move into it down the track.”
For those who want to spend a little more time savouring their tea, there’s twenty seats reserved for casual dining. “People can come in, smash a quick ph? and leave,” laughs Blacher.
Hanoi Hannah Express is unlikely to be the last innovation you’ll see from Blacher and Co. “The Hanoi Hannah Express is definitely something that can be replicated,” he hints. “We might take a bit of a break, or we might push ahead and do Bangkok Betty, or Hanoi Hannah in the city, or Hanoi Hannah in Sydney. Can’t say.”
Hanoi Hannah Express
186 High Street, Prahran
Tues to Thurs noon–11pm Fri to Sun noon–1am