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With good food, a relaxed atmosphere and a swanky edge, we wonder why there aren’t more upbeat dining venues like Le Viet around Shanghai.

It’s almost as if the owners aren’t convinced themselves. This huge 600-sq. meter space is also home to a new Lapis Thai. Plus, it all gradually transforms into a disco as the evening deepens. The result is a little confusing, with three menus to peruse and three logos everywhere.

Although there’s merit in the ability to mix between two Southeast Asian cuisines, our meal remained entirely on the Vietnamese pages and began with the litmus test: banh xeo (Vietnamese pancake, RMB68). Le Viet’s is a huge, photogenic fold of light, crispy batter filled with pork, prawns and beansprouts. Wrapped in lettuce and mint leaves, it’s almost too light on both filling and flavor.

As a signature dish, the prawn and mangosteen salad (RMB108) is not as defining as it should be. Salty slices of dried squid atop bland prawns, diced pork and sweet mangosteen segments combine to a very distinct yet awkwardly cacophonous mouthful.

A fresh, zesty bowl of squid salad (RMB58) brings everything back to the basics. A rich stew of braised fatty lamb in coconut (RMB48) encapsulated the depth of Vietnamese cuisine.

Le Viet may not be a gastronomic masterpiece but for everything else, it has the goods.

  • Le Viet
  • 021 5252-0078

  • 6F, Plaza 1788, 1818 Nanjing Xi Lu [map]
  • 上海市南京西路1818号1788广场6楼(近华山路)

  • Vietnamese
  • ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
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