I've always wanted to visit Sapa Modern Vietnamese and have driven past the restaurant many many times. So I was really excited when a friend of mine suggested we go there for dinner. I spoke to a few people who have been there and they all gave it rave reviews so my expectations were high and my anticipation was higher (so much so I was ready to go 45 minutes before I had to leave).
When I walked in, I was instantly greeted by three super friendly and efficient staff members who greeted me, showed me to my table, gave me a menu, filled me glass with water and asked me how my day was. As my friend was waiting for me, we spend half an hour catching up before we even looked at the menu.
We decided to order four dishes and share...because there are no calories in Vietnamese food, or there's no calories when you're sharing, or something like that. As my friend is pescetarian (a vegetarian who eats seafood) we ordered the Prawn Salad, Vietnamese Crispy Pancake, Prawn Pad Thai and Tamarind Soft Shell Crab. The meals were served as separate courses as opposed to banquet style so we were there for about three hours, which was fine as we had lots of catching up to do!
The Prawn Salad was a beautiful combination of mint, coriander, tomato, cucumber, spanish onion, and sliced red chilli sprinkled with dried shrimp. The salad dressing was beautifully balanced being sweet, sour, salty and slightly spicy. The prawns were HUGE and there were a lot of them.
All in all, this salad was delicious, fresh and flavoursome. The perfect way to start the dining experience.
The second dish to arrive on our table was the Vietnamese Crispy Pancake. The pancake itself is a crispy coconut and turmeric flavoured rice pancake and was very light, both in flavour and texture. We asked for the filling to be sans chicken, so it came with prawns, bean shoots and shallots. Served with a sweet chilli dressing, this is not something I would typically order, and more fool me because it's really good.
Next was our Prawn Pad Thai. This was different to the Pad Thai you see in Thai restaurants as the rice noodles were coated in a darker, sweeter soy sauce. Packed full of big prawns and bean shoots and serve with a smattering of crushed peanuts and dried shrimp. The wedge of lemon on the side was perfect and added another layer of complexity to the flavours when drizzled over the top. I'm going out on a limb here, but I think this is better than Thai Pad Thai.
Lastly was the Tamarind Soft Shell Crab. OH MY! This was one of the most delicious meals I have ever eaten. Ever. Soft tender crab, with a crispy fried coating, flavoured with tart tamarind. Served on a small salad (which was left forgotten) this dish was the highlight of the evening. Sorry I didn't get a photo, the lighting was insufficient when it was served.
Located on Ocean View Drive at Wamberal, if you haven't been to Sapa Modern Vietnamese WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? I would recommend booking a table as it was packed when we were there and from what I've heard that is the norm. For more information, call them on (02) 4385 8808 or visit their website.