Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

[Review] Aobaba, Capel Street, Dublin 1

Back in December, I wrote about a new Vietnamese pho restaurant that had opened on Parnell Street.  Since then, that location has proved extremely popular with Dublin diners, proving the Kevin Costner adage that if you build it, they will come. Alongside this venue, I'd heard about a second Vietnamese eatery on Capel Street. Aobaba is a small cafe painted in a palette of pastel colours, which offers a selection of Vietnamese street food along with milk and bubble teas. You order and pay at the counter, take your seat and wait just a few minutes before your food arrives. Each table holds a fairly decent selection of condiments, including picked soy bean sauce for pho, sriracha sauce, fish sauce and a fairly potent jar of minced chilis. 
Stitch and Bear - Aobaba - Sauces
Selection of condiments at Aobaba
First to arrive at the table was the portion of summer rolls (2 for €3). I liked the clever name, and these were substantial rolls with prawns and mint, bulked up with rice noodles and held together by translucent rice wrappers. These rolls contained contained significantly more rice noodles that I had experienced in previous versions, making them practically a meal in their own right. His Banh Mi (or Vietnamese baguette) was a substantial sandwich of pork, fresh crunchy salad and chilis and all for just €4. Yet again another meal. More importantly, the Banh Mi came in a wonder soft, yet crusty baguette.
Stitch and Bear - Aobaba - Summer Rolls
Prawn & rice noodle summer rolls
Stitch and Bear - Aobaba - Banh Mi
Banh Mi - Vietnamese pork baguette
Last to arrive at the table was the Spicy Hue Style Noodles (Bun Bo Hue) with lashings of beansprouts, red onions, pork and noodles (€6). I'm not enough of an expert on Vietnamese noodle soup to know if this bowl qualified as pho, but it was soothing and comforting, with fragrant spice. Granted, the broth was not as rich as other versions I've enjoyed, but the additional touch of spice made up for that. And it cost just €6!!
Stitch and Bear - Aobaba - Spicy Hue Style Noodles
Spicy Hue Style Noodles (Bun Bo Hue)
The total cost for our little meal was €13, and any individual dish would have easily sufficed as a lunch dish. The Banh Mi in particular stood out. A somewhat bizarre legacy of French colonialism in Vietnam, this baguette was stuffed with good things. I was fascinated by the bubble tea machine behind the counter which mechanically shakes the tea in a back and forth motion. Another day for sure.  For those that like their pastries, there is an intriguing looking selection of tarts and pastries at the counter. 

In short, Aobaba is tasty and exceptional value. Many venues claim to sell street food, but charge restaurant prices. Aobaba will go easy on your wallet, but not on your taste buds. 

Aobaba, 46A Capel Street, Dublin 1
Tel: +353 (0)1 878 8555
Twitter: @aobabainfo


Sinead said...

Oh, I am going to have to visit, thanks for putting this on my radar.

Jeanne said...

Just read your 2 reviews on aobaba and pho viet on parnell... I didn't try them yet but will...Your summer rolls from aobaba dont look so great and am surprised they served it with noc man!! Those rolls are typically served with peanut hoisin.. The ban mi - which colour was your pork? It is typically filled with some cucumber and pickle carrots..and the pork should be rosted but soft pink colored..Am not sure aobaba is very typical but I will give it a they serve any viet street desserts by any chance?
Btw, am french vietnamese (so know a good bit of typical food)

dudara said...

Hi Jeanne - really looking forward to your thoughts, and gaining some education from a knowledgeable person.

The summer rolls at Aobaba were much bulkier than other versions I've tried. There was a selection of pastries & desserts in a display at the counter.

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