LITTLE FAIFO $$$
This atmospheric building on Nguyen Thai Hoc invites you to step back into the past. A time of opulence, of luxury, of impeccable service. Enjoy the ornate carvings, the slowly whirring ceiling fans and the cool interior. Or watch the town come to life from Little Faifo’s terrace or balcony.
Allow Manager Mr Yen to transport you with trading tales of Hoi An’s past, and indeed of the building itself – over 100 years old, it was formerly home to a ceramics trader, then a silk merchant, and still exists as a museum today, with beautiful ceramic pieces inside. (Although one of the most impressive ‘pieces’ is surely the bodhi tree out back, almost as old as the building itself.)
10 out of 10 for ambience. And 10 out of 10 for service – we were given ice-cold towels to cool off before linen napkins – yes! Linen! – were placed on our laps. Our water glasses were never left empty and the staff were attentive and friendly without ever being in our faces.
But what of the food? Well, we loved the modern take on traditional Vietnamese dishes (they offer Western dishes, a kids’ menu and vegan items, too).
The star of the show had to be the “Duo of Pork”. I hate to use the word “deconstructed” in any review, but that’s exactly what it was – a clever and delicious deconstruction of cao lầu. Any fans of sticky ribs will adore this dish.
Another stand-out item was the crispy wontons – hands down the best version I’ve had in Vietnam. Not flimsy as so many tend to be but with a bit of weight and a lot of taste. The mango, prawn and tuna salad was both spicy and zesty and the roast duck was simply beautiful. Come here hungry, as portions are huge!
Whether it’s for a special lunch or a romantic dinner, this timeless restaurant will make you want to stop the clocks – just so you can stay a little longer. And, if you come on a Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday there’s live music – traditional Vietnamese in the garden and a pianist inside.
For those who don’t want a full-meal experience Little Faifo also operates as a cafe as well as a restaurant with world-class coffee, pastries and lighter meals.