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Cuon N Roll wraps it up in one bite

The green, brightly lit restaurant Cuon N Roll delivers on the fresh meal its interior design promises. Plates are colourfully composed, though not always flavoured perfectly. Thuy Hang reports.

Rolling with the punches: Bo cuon cai – poached finger-sized beef wrapped in mustard leaves.
Rolling with the punches: Bo cuon cai – poached finger-sized beef wrapped in mustard leaves.

On the way home from work every day, I’ve been attracted by the scene of people sitting by a glass window on the third floor of a newly opened restaurant, looking down over the crowded street beneath. That scene, together with my interest in discovering new gourmet restaurants, has pulled me to that location – Cuon N Roll, a restaurant specialising in roll dishes.

Located within a new apartment building on Giang Vo Street, the Cuon N Roll impresses passers-by with its large and bright green colour sign board, which promises to serve something fresh.

Green is definitely the theme of this spacious restaurant. Different shades of the colour can be seen inside, from painted walls to ceiling lamps, from chairs to bowls and cups. Alongside, another green wall, featuring a small “hanging garden”, emboldens the fresh feeling for any gourmet. We decided to choose a table next to this garden.

As we sat down, a young waitress in her green T-shirt uniform brought the menu. I was a bit confused, as I couldn’t decide which dish we should have – all the dishes sound mouthwatering. Finally, after seeking advice from the waitress, we picked five dishes.

Fillet of flavour: Bo cuon mo chai – grilled beef roll with lemongrass.

The waitress then put on our table a large plate featuring many aromatic herbs, such as basil, mint basil, perilla, Vietnamese balm, coriander, as well as threaded pineapple, green banana, cucumber, carrot, and cabbage. The vegetables are must-have ingredients for any fresh roll dish. Without it, the dish can’t realise its full taste.

Our first dish was bo cuon cai – poached finger-sized beef wrapped in mustard leaves (VND128,000).

I was quite interested in the nice composition of the dish, which consisted of yellow pineapple and ginger, red chilli, orange carrot, green mustard leaves, and dark purple perilla. However, the main ingredient – the beef – left me disappointed because it was quite chewy. Anyways, I still liked the hot pungent taste of the dipping sauce – soya sauce with wasabi – which left a burning sensation in my mouth.

Bo cuon mo chai – grilled beef roll with lemongrass (VND128,000) – was our second dish. I picked this dish because I like lemongrass. However, the expected fragrance of lemongrass did not exist in this sausage lookalike. Yet, the lack of fragrance was made up for by other aromatic herbs.

We continued to satisfy our taste buds with cuon thit nuong – grilled pork belly roll (VND128,000), which was still sizzling on a hot metal plate when it was placed on our table. The needle mushroom wrapped in thin sliced pork belly adds some juice to the roll, countering the fatty taste of the meat.

Delicate design: The spacious restaurant’s theme is green. The colour brings the promise of fresh, tasty cuisine laden with vegetables.

Tom cuon khoai tay – shrimp wrapped in potato threads (VND58,000) – was a kind of appetiser dish. However, it was served without being in a particular order. But I don’t care about that. The matter I care about is whether the dish is good or bad. Luckily, it was fine – warm, crispy, and buttery. However, I wished the shrimp could have been a bit larger to balance with the outer potato.

Our last dish was com chay kho quet – crispy rice with caramelised belly pork and dried shrimp (VND88,000). While the rice was quite good – very thin and crispy – the kho quet was not perfect.

Satisfying crunch: Tom cuon khoai tay – shrimp wrapped in potato threads.

Unlike the authentic version of the dish, which requires the kho quet be condensed, the version of the Cuon N Roll is quite weak. It was almost similar to the thit kho (braised belly pork) dish.

As we did not have more room to sample any other dishes, we decided we would come back to try other options on another day.

Alongside some 20 roll dishes, the restaurant will also serve different kinds of hotpot dishes, including sweet and sour hotpot, American beef hotpot, keo fish hotpot, as well as stir-fried pho and fried rice.

Cuon N Roll also presents combo menus for two to four people, with the price set at VND268,000 and VND508,000, respectively.