Whenever a restaurant has been around for a while, one of two things usually happens. Either it becomes a bit old and dated, or it becomes an institution - a place that is loved and respected. Luckily for Copenhagen, LêLê nhà hàng falls into the latter category.
For ten years, LêLê’s has been providing affordable, yet high quality, Vietnamese cuisine and the queue of people waiting every day to get a seat is testament to this.
At LêLê’s, every detail co-ordinates perfectly to create an atmosphere that is Asian chic and yet relaxed, contemporary dining. From the Tiger roof mural that greets you on your way in, to the high ceilings that house you within the dining room, this place has a certain ambience that makes you feel instantly at home.
To begin, we sampled one of the best cocktails I’ve ever tasted. Designed to be smooth like a Margarita, this little piece of liquid heaven contained vanilla, basil, lycee, chilli and rum that’s made on the premises. It’s soft and sweet until the chilli hits you and then it really packs a punch that leaves the lips tingling for more.
To begin we had two starters. The Ca tai chanh was a lovely fresh sea bass tatar with chilli and lime, served with glasswort and watercress. The fish tasted extremely fresh and had a great sauce that really set off the flavours.
The Goi du du, which is a Saigonese papaya salad with beef and Vietnamese mint, was to die for. From the soft and crunchy textures, to the caramelised onion and beef, this salad was superb while the sauce was so tasty I wanted to drink it. It’s hard to believe that something healthy could taste so naughty.
LêLê’s also has a tasting menu, enabling diners to taste a little of lots of different things. We had the well-priced Dak Lak menu that had two wontons, two Vietnamese rolls, two Lat Lot rolls and four fresh rolls.
The turkey, crab meat and vegetable wontons were nice enough with crispy skins, but the turkey almost overpowered the crab.
The Vietnamese rolls with juicy pork and crab meat were pure deep-fried joy. They are definitely one of the must-try dishes and are best enjoyed wrapped in the lettuce leaves and dipped in the gorgeous velvety fish sauce.
The Lat Lot rolls with beef and wild betel leaves were spicy but great for meat lovers, whilst the fresh rolls – two with raw marinated walleye in citrus and ginger and two with roast beef and papaya – were slightly bitter tasting and I think may contain more than the menu states.
For the main we enjoyed the Thit Heo Quay, which is piglet in five spices, and Hanoi meat balls in green sticky rice served with pak choi in garlic and pumpkin tofu. The piglet had amazing components but was sometimes quite chewy. The meatballs were super juicy and tasty and the garlic and pumpkin tofu didn’t lack taste either. The best part, however, was the small soft pieces of piglet that were scattered throughout the dish. These pieces were divine and melted in your mouth.
Ca Chien is Golden Dorado in a tamarind, ginger and mint sauce, banana blossom salad with fried shiitake mushroom, and jasmine rice. Unfortunately the fish was dry and tasted like it had been overcooked; however the ginger and mint sauce was super tasty and when everything is enjoyed together, it becomes a flavoursome dish.
For dessert we enjoyed Chocolate rolls with banana, served with ice cream and hazelnut crumbles and Green apple and lemongrass sorbet with guava cream. Both were extraordinary, especially the Chocolate rolls, and I’d easily visit again just for dessert.
On the whole, the staff are extremely knowledgeable and helpful, service is fast and friendly and you never feel like you’re being ignored. The presentation of all the dishes is beautiful and because everything looks fresh and healthy, the eyes melt long before you’ve even tasted anything. With generous portion sizes you get your money’s worth. LêLê’s only continues to step in the right direction and this is definitely one place you’ll want to keep coming back to for years to come.
LêLê nhà hàng
Vesterbrogade 40, Cph V;
Open: Sun-Thu 17:00-23:00, Fri-Sat 17:00-02:00;
Top Dish: Goi du du
Price Range: Starters 60-125kr, Mains 180-220kr