Sheffield food review: Not quite the perfect night at Hanoi 75 at Kommune
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Hanoi 75 specialises in a selection of dishes that are inspired by the flavours of Vietnamese capital, Hanoi and more food found throughout South East Asia — with dishes ranging from yellow curries and pho to bao buns.
Kommune, like the Cutlery Works or Sheffield Plate, is one of the city’s blossoming popular and bustling food halls, populated by street food vendors offering a mouthwatering selection of dishes inspired by and transported from across the globe. The Scandi-inspired venue looks really cool and is a great example of some of the regeneration work going on around the old Castle Market area.
And, just like at the Cutlery Works, once you are seated you scan a QR code to order from any of the vendors through the Kommune app. You also accrue some sort of customer loyalty ‘Koins’ to encourage repeat returns. Don’t ask me what the Koins equate to… couldn’t figure it out — answers on a postcard. Plus, if you come back within seven-days of your initial visit you'll also get a percentage off your bill — which is nice.
This wasn’t my first visit to Kommune, but it was a series of firsts for me. On a Saturday evening (the weekend before Valentine’s, no less) there were around 500+ in attendance, each enjoying a selection of food and drink from the multiple outlets in the building.
Floor staff from the venue were flitting to and fro from each vendor taking food and drinks to tables, seemingly not pausing much if at all throughout.
After opening the app and battling through the sluggish system in order to get to my vendor of choice - in this case it was from the Hanoi 75 - I could finally make my order, except I couldn’t. For some bizarre reason the app does not seem to communicate when something isn’t available - instead giving an error that a product and a number was not available.
Instead, I had to go through a process of elimination, removing dishes from my order and trying to order before figuring out what dish it was. In short the app was terrible on this occasion, with the browser app equally as sluggish — but it was pretty busy and has previously worked fine.
Fifteen to twenty minutes later, mainly due to the slowness of the connection (I couldn’t see whether there was available Wi-Fi in the venue), I finally managed to get my order in. Deciding on a selection of dishes to put to the test.
After a wait of around 30 minutes the food arrived, which isn’t too bad considering how busy it was. So no complaints there at all… the food looked great and on pretty much every other occasion I would say that it was an absolute treat… except it wasn’t on this occasion.
We ordered the Glazed Tofu Bao Bun, the presentation is excellent and immediately looks incredibly moreish.
Next up was a portion of Vegetable Spring Rolls served with a sweet chilli dip.
This was followed by Disco Fries with Sticky Chicken. This dish features skin-on loaded fries, sweet soy, garlic sriracha, vegan chilli mayo, pickled asian slaw, sticky chicken, crushed roasted salted peanuts, crispy shallots, fresh coriander & chilli.
And finally, we received The Full Works, which is almost exactly the same as the Disco Fries with Sticky Chicken but with added melted cheese and a runny egg on top. Sadly, the egg was not runny.
Although each dish was impeccably presented this is where - despite the ongoing battle with the app - things took another turn for the worse.
Every single dish was cold, I don’t mean lukewarm… I mean actually cold, barring the deep-fried vegetable spring rolls which had retained a warmth. It was as though the order had been forgotten entirely.
I asked the patrons sitting on the table next to me what their food was like — spoiler: they were actually enjoying it. It had only arrived around 5-10 minutes before ours and was still visibly warm.
After raising this with the Floor Manager who was super helpful given the situation and a refund was immediately delivered, along with a recommendation to order from another vendor due to the now increased wait at Hanoi 75’s stall.
I’d genuinely had enough. Plus, we’d also ordered two rounds of drinks by that time otherwise we would have left already. We just felt so disappointed, frustrated by the slow cumbersome app-ordering process, as well as pretty hungry which was a shame.
The food genuinely looked absolutely stunning, I mean look at the pictures for proof, but there are few things worse than cold chips (and the rest). Disappointing in a word. Reyt disappointing is actually more apt.
I have no doubt that the food at Hanoi 75 is delicious and that on almost any other occasion it would be a treat to behold — just not as spur of the moment visit on an early Saturday evening. However, on this occasion sadly it was a bit of a let down. Maybe next time though, eh?