In early 2017, Doi Ka Noi packed up its saucepans and trotted across the road to its new and improved abode.
In a city with relatively few green spaces, it's especially lovely to sit outside in a garden courtyard surrounded, literally, by the food that ends up on your plate.
Doi Ka Noi, if you haven't yet heard about this increasingly popular restaurant, is run by chef and owner, Noi. All of the dishes on Doi Ka Noi's short and daily-changing menu are family recipes Noi learned from her grandmother.
(Except for the duck confit laab, a more recent addition that only pops up on weekends, if you're lucky, and sshhhh, don't tell everyone).
Noi's husband Mick Shippen, is the talented photographer, writer and part time gardener, house painter and handyman who spent 6 months outfitting Doi Ka Noi's new restaurant and garden. The result is pretty special.
The ethos of Doi Ka Noi is simple, organic, homegrown food that's tasty and true to its Lao origins. Most of the vegetables and herbs used in their dishes are now grown in the garden. There is pumpkin, zucchini, courgette, tomato, lettuce and more, plus banana and papaya trees. All the restaurant's food scraps go into compost heaps, which together with dung from the pony stable just down on Rue Bourichane, is fast turning into nutrient-rich, black soil.
A hole from a uprooted tree has been turned into a pond, with a hope of attracting frogs and adding to the biodiversity of the garden. They'll be joining the sun-loving skinks and mosquito-eating geckos that are already in residence.
Inside, Doi Ka Noi's signature bright colours and Mick's stunning photography make for a charming dining room. The tables and benches are made from recycled timber and the vintage folding chairs were repainted in retro red. There's also space for private groups.
Oh, and as it is a restaurant, here's a little taste of the food... Fish (not duck) laab and the best spring rolls in town.
Doi Ka Noi is now open for weekend dinner. Early evening with the kids and a cold beer in the garden courtyard is just what you need on a weekend. Meals can be made non-spicy for the kids, and between geckos, the endlessly cheerful staff, and the homemade ice cream, you'll be onto a good thing.
As my favourite Lao restaurant in Vientiane, Doi Ka Noi has the distinction of being reviewed on my blog twice! Hey, it's my party.
Doi Ka Noi is open for lunch and dinner on weekends, and closed on Mondays. It's in the lane 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.