As a fan of Asian noodle soups of different kinds, it’s never been difficult for me to love Vietnamese pho. Anytime my family brings up a never-before-tried restaurant specializing in pho, I’m always game for it. That’s how we wound up one Sunday at Hanoi Corner in San Antonio Village, Makati.
HaNoi Corner is a small restaurant located at an actual corner of a quiet residential area. I feel like if you had no idea this place existed, you wouldn’t know to find it here.
The simplicity of HaNoi Corner reminds me of the pho joints I’ve visited in Vietnam, just with more decor and air conditioning. It wasn’t a busy Sunday the time we went, but I’ve seen photos of this place packed so I’m guessing it’s got a pretty good following.
I don’t really know what it is about pho that draws me to it. For me, in the spectrum of Chinese wonton noodle soups and Japanese ramen, pho sits right in the middle. When done right, it is deliciously heartwarming without being too greasy or heavy.
At a glance, it looks like a deceivingly normal bowl of noodles in clear soup, but boy does it pack a flavorful punch!
HaNoi Corner’s menu is very limited. You can literally find it on your table alongside the chopsticks and condiments. We ordered pretty much everything that was on this little standee, so I was kind of shocked when we were told that the fresh spring rolls and the chicken rice dish were not available. Considering the tiny menu they have, you’d think it would be easy for them to keep all their dishes available. 😅
And I must admit, that really put a damper on my first impression of this place.
Now I wasn’t ready to completely throw my opinion on HaNoi Corner to the dogs so I was hoping fervently that the food would be able to turn things around.
Fried Spring Rolls (Php 150)
Like many fried things, these spring rolls were tasty enough, with the light dip providing a bit of tang. I always prefer fresh Vietnamese Rolls and was quite disappointed that they weren’t available, but I can’t say this was a satisfactory replacement for me personally. I’m too partial towards fresh rolls, you know? But if you like crunchy fried things, this is for you!
Regular Beef Noodles (Php 190)
The thing I noticed among the pho served in HaNoi Corner was the lack of veggie add-ons to the noodles. I love lots of veg in my pho because for me they add to the dining experience. There’s a decent amount of noodles and beef in their Regular Pho though, as it should. But the real winner here was the broth, which pleasantly surprised me. I wouldn’t go so far as saying it’s like the pho you’d get in Vietnam, but it’s one of the tastier versions I’ve had locally.
They say this dish is enough to share for two but I can’t say that’s true if you’re an individual with an appetite.
Half-Done Beef Noodles (Php 210)
People who like their meat medium-rare will probably gravitate towards this option, but frankly it looks like the chef held back on the beef quite a bit. (It also seems to have less noodles, or was that just my imagination?) This dish has the same tasty broth as the one above.
Special Beef Noodle (Php 240) 🌟
At a glance, I thought this pho was going to be spicy. Imagine my surprise when it actually ended up being tangy, just lightly sour, and even more savory than the pho dishes above. It’s certainly a deviation from the usual clear soup pho, and as much as its color catches your attention, its taste cannot help but tickle the tastebuds too.
The punch comes from tomato sauce and red wine, making this the most memorable among the pho we tried. There’s a reason it’s called “Special”!
This one has cubes of beef and a good amount of noodles, and it comes in a bigger bowl. Hands-down my favorite of the day and I would definitely come back to have more!
Ice Brown Coffee (Php 89) 🌟
Vietnamese Coffee is pretty awesome, and drinking it is the only time I would willingly add sugar to my coffee in the form of condensed milk. (I usually drink my brewed coffee black with no add-ons, you see.) HaNoi Corner has some pretty good Vietnamese Coffee, and they don’t go overboard with the sweetener too which I appreciate. This drink perfectly cuts through the savoriness of the pho.
Egg Coffee (Php 120)
Egg Coffee is essentially made up of dark Vietnamese coffee at the bottom and an egg creme on top. That frothy creme is made up of egg yolk and condensed milk, so this is basically a super sweetened dessert drink that has the barest coffee note. If you like sweet drinks, you will likely enjoy this. You won’t taste the egg, don’t worry.
Egg Matcha (Php 110)
This matcha version is just slightly less sweet than the original one. Instead of using coffee, it makes use of earthy matcha paired with the same sweet egg creme. The matcha flavor was stronger than I expected, which makes me assume that they used good quality matcha to make this.
HaNoi Corner is a great place to satisfy cravings when you just want to sit down and eat some straightfoward pho. It reminds me a lot of the no-frills pho joints I tried in Vietnam many years ago, adding to the nostalgia factor eating pho gives me.
Although I would say HaNoi Corner serves up some great-tasting bowls of pho, I wish they could’ve had some fresh Vietnamese basil and sprouts on the side to make the experience complete.
I actually don’t mind their very basic menu, but it was disappointing how they still couldn’t serve us some of the dishes we wanted. That awesome bowl of Special Beef Noodles almost erased all my bad feelings though. The rest of their pho have that classic flavor I love, so at the end of the day, HaNoi Corner still gets a solid score. I must admit, I feel a bit envious of the people who live close to this place.
Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Unit 111, 8760 Residences, Santol cor. Aranga Sts.,
San Antonio Village, Makati
Contact No.: (02) 815 0183