Rice Paper

David Evans

Podium Four, World Trade Centre, 280 Gloucester Rd, Causeway Bay

Tel: 2890 3975

Open: 11.30am-11.30pm

Cuisine: Modern Vietnamese.

Price: $600 for two, excluding drinks.

Ambience: Bright, clean, upmarket, fast-food restaurant feel, decorated in red and white with lotus motifs. Window tables overlook the typhoon shelter, and two-person nooks occupy one side. Unfortunately, we were seated in the private room with no view, atmosphere or warmth.

Pros: Vietnamese food made with fresh, flavourful ingredients.

Cons: Our starters arrived soon after we ordered and were quickly followed by the mushroom and pea sprout side dish ($48) - but it was then 40 minutes before our two main dishes arrived, by which time the side dish was half-eaten and the rest was cold (as were we, thanks to the air-conditioning). Because we were in a side room and out of sight, it was difficult to attract the attention of staff, and they didn't pay us much attention. A floor manager later explained that the delays were due to a shortage of kitchen staff. The creme caramel ($60) was heavy.

Recommended dishes: The seafood curry ($120) was loaded with meaty chunks of lobster, scallops, clams and prawns. The sauce was creamy, although a little salty. Prawn rice paper rolls ($39) had an excellent peanut sauce. Although the fried red emperor fish ($140, above) was dry, the accompanying leafy salad was fresh and crisp. We enjoyed the pomelo salad ($65), although there could have been a few more dried shrimps.

What else? A popular restaurant with the weekend-dinner crowd, it's best to book ahead, although those without reservations didn't seem to have to wait more than 20 minutes for a table. There's an extensive wine list and some interesting twists on the standard fresh lime juice such as a refreshing lemongrass lime soda ($35).