Travelling to Vietnam with oneNINEone

With Vietnam sitting on my bucket list as a must-visit country, I was thrilled to receive an invitation to visit oneNINEone to sample its Vietnamese promotion. I was even more excited to learn that Vietnamese-born chefs Ma Khi Tan and Duong Bao Son from the Grand Hyatt Dubai’s WOX Asian Restaurant were flown in to create an authentic Vietnamese menu–so I could expect flavours in line with what is actually eaten in Vietnam.

Living in Johannesburg, I tend to look for opportunities to dine at restaurants that aren’t in shopping malls whenever possible. This results in a laser-focus on areas like Parkhurst and Maboneng, with only an occasional visit to a hotel restaurant. As a result, I had not previously been to oneNINEone (which is at the Hyatt Regency in Rosebank) and I wasn’t sure what to expect.

hyatt regency johannesburg Travelling to Vietnam with oneNINEone

My husband and I visited on a quiet Monday night, and we were very impressed by the ambience. oneNINEone is beautifully decorated, with a contemporary, upscale feel. It’s a good option for a quiet date night–the kind where you want to be able to talk without shouting over the din of the restaurant. The focal point is the open kitchen, where you can see the chefs prepare your meal (and occasionally spot some flames, depending on what they’re making).

oneNINEone has an extensive wine menu. In line with the location and atmosphere of the restaurant, many of the options lean toward the expensive side. However, there are enough sub-R250 bottles of wine to balance out the selection for less flush diners. Anticipating that we’d primarily be eating seafood, we ordered a bottle of the La Petite Ferme Sauvignon Blanc (R210).

Before we began ordering food, we had a conversation with one of the chefs. He said that everything on the menu was good, but highly recommended that we share the Sup Hai Son (seafood soup) as a starter and advised that one of us order the Bo Xao Luc Lac (stir-fried beef) as a main.

springrolls Travelling to Vietnam with oneNINEoneWe decided to follow his advice. We shared two starters–the Sup Hai Son (seafood soup; R110) and the Nem Hai San (crispy seafood spring roll; R 70). The spring roll came with a sweet dipping sauce; it was a good option, particularly for those who don’t enjoy spicy food. For us, however, it was outshone by the fantastic seafood soup. The flavourful, spicy soup was our favourite dish of the night. I would go back to oneNINEone just to have that soup again–I was still thinking about how good it was days later!

The server also brought us some of oneNINEone’s signature sourdough bread with olive oil and balsamic. The unique bread was a nice touch and gave us a sampling of oneNINEone’s usual fare.

For mains, I ordered the Bo Xao Luc Lac (stir-fried beef with five spices; R170) and my husband ordered the Banh Cuon Thit Ga (minced chicken roll, steamed rice cake; R160). The tender beef served with fresh mint and onion was less exotic than the minced chicken roll, but both were substantial, tasty meals. If I returned, I would try the Tam Rang Me (wok-fried prawn with tamarind sauce; R280), which also looked divine.

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Bo Xao Luc Lac

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Banh Cuon Thit Ga

To maintain the evening’s authenticity, we decided to order Vietnamese desserts as well. I ordered the Xoi Xoai Cot Dua (sticky rice, mango, coconut cream; R60), and my husband ordered the Che Cu Nang Cot Dua (water chestnut dumpling, iced coconut milk; R60). Both desserts were light, refreshing and authentic.

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Xoi Xoai Cot Dua

We found the Vietnamese menu fresh, light and healthy, which made it easy to eat all three courses. However, the portions were huge so we definitely made a good call by arriving hungry.

Thought we ate primarily off of the promotional menu (which only ran through 12 September), oneNINEone’s ambience, service and dedication to quality food impressed us enough that we would return to try their regular menu. We also learned that they regularly run exchange programs in which they fly in chefs from different locations worldwide. This particular promotion highlighted Vietnamese food, and we heard that they recently had a Middle Eastern week as well. We would be thrilled to take another trip with them.

Hours

Breakfast
Monday to Friday – 06:30AM to 10:30AM
Saturday and Sunday – 06:30AM to 11:00AM

Lunch and Dinner
Monday to Saturday – 12:00PM to 10:00PM
Sunday – closed

Reservations
Telephone: + 27 11 280 1234
E-mail: johannesburg.regency@hyatt.com