Cafe Coco Tang – Vietnamese – Nottingham
I’m always somewhat sceptical when a cocktail bar turns it hand at food. Maybe even more so when it’s a difficult cuisine to master. Why not stick to bacon and eggs with a twist? The other way to look at it is to admire the ambition and celebrate food hard to come by in Nottingham; Vietnamese. You enter via Byard Lane which you might remember from such restaurants as Baresca and fashion outlets as Reiss. The space starts with a hot drinks counter that extends into a irregularly shaped room and more tables than you might expect. I like the look and feel of the place, it’s something different from the rinse and repeat stylings of a lot of new cafes and bars.
On the beverage front there are an impressive array of options. I counted double figures for their hot chocolate selection, lots of bean choice for your coffee and teas for days (sadly I can’t be more specific as a website is yet to appear and a trawl of their Facebook page only procures the food menu). They also have a fairly extensive bar and I was tempted by a BeerLao but opted for a more warming jasmine tea. Couldn’t fault it, well brewed and prettily presented too.
The food was the real reason for coming and the menu was attractive on the face of it. Three interesting fish options including softshell crab and seabass but I really felt I should try Vietnam’s most iconic dish, pho. Essentially a noodle soup with sliced beef, the key to a good pho is the broth. Unfortunately I thought the depth of flavour was a bit lacking. Yes you get given some fresh chilli, siracha, fish sauce and lime but it needed too much of it to breathe life into it. I was more convinced by this having recently visited a Vietnamese restaurant (Monsieur Vuong) whilst in Berlin, which was far superior and cheaper. The pho at Coco Tang comes in at £9.50 and you will certainly be full if you manage to slurp it all down but a little above the price point you would expect.
I can see myself popping back of a cold afternoon to try one of their many interesting drinks but with all dishes around £10 it might take a while before I consider parting with my money for their food again.
Restaurant website: https://www.facebook.com/cafecocotang/