The first thing I noticed upon entering the bright and airy Doi Ka Noi are the beautiful canvas photos of Lao food on the wall. They sit cheerfully with the vibrant yellow and green walls, and the bright red chairs. Such dynamic decor is a somewhat unexpected find in a Lao restaurant. But that's kind of the point; this isn't your average Lao restaurant.
When English food photographer, Mick Shippen, pops over to our table and reveals that he's married to chef and restaurant owner, Noi, we can see why his artwork adorns every wall. Doi Ka Noi seems the perfect marriage of two complementary talents.
Doi Ka Noi has moved across the road - see the end of the post for address and map!
Sitting down under a fan in one corner of this colourful room, we are presented with menu of the day. There are five dishes (the 6th is sticky rice - black or normal) and five of us, so we order one of everything.
Noi's restaurant has only been open a few weeks. She specialises in simple, authentic Lao food from her family. All the ingredients are local and/or organic, and the menu changes daily depending on produce availability. The proof is in the pudding - this food is delicious.
I first came across Noi's food at Mick and Tessa Bunney's photography exhibition at ICAT gallery. Noi made all the food for the opening night and it was really yummy; spicy and full of flavour. I am still getting my taste buds around Lao food and I especially enjoy finding homemade options that are quite different to the standard Lao cuisine I've experienced elsewhere.
Must try: The fried spring rolls and organic black sticky rice, both menu staples. Quench your thirst with a huge fresh mint iced tea.
Tip: Visit the Doi Ka Noi facebook page to see the daily menu.
Doi Ka Noi is open for lunch and dinner on weekends. Closed on Mondays. It's just around the corner from the Japanese embassy, off Sisangvong Rd and near the turnoff to Seng Lao, on the opposite side of the road. Look for the bright green sign out front.