A new Italian-focused Mediterranean restaurant adjacent to the Bitexco Tower combines great food with a central location. Review and photos by Brett Davis.
Listening to LovEat co-owner Andrea Col talk about his new venture, it is clear how much thought and preparation went into the restaurant before it opened three months ago. A long search was conducted to find a local cheese-maker who could produce the kind of mozzarella and mascarpone that was required, and an Italian coffee specialist helped refine the roasting techniques of the restaurant’s coffee supplier.
This kind of preparation and attention to detail is also apparent in the menu. Col says the concept for LovEat is to take Italian and other dishes from the region and give them something of a twist.
To fit Asian tastes, Col explains that there is a strong fish and shellfish selection on offer. Indeed, the house’s signature dish is the sautéed mussels, served in a selection of sauces and with fries and housemade bruschetta. We sampled the local mussels in martini saffron sauce (VND 175,000 regular, VND 260,000 large) and they were just as good as you will find anywhere.
Another surprise dish was the Provence zucchini flan (VND 150,000), which Col says is hugely popular already with the restaurant’s Japanese clientele. Served with a very light bechamel sauce, the flan has an almost cake-like texture, and could well serve as a dessert for those who prefer something savoury instead of sweet. However, it still works superbly as an appetiser.
Next up was a trio of seared scallops (VND 190,000), each served on top of a tartare of avocado and ripe mango. It is a winning combination and perfect for a tropical climate.
Finally, to test the locally-made mascarpone, we tried the tiramisu (VND 140,000). Here is a great example of what can be achieved when time and effort is expended to ensure you have the best and freshest ingredients possible.
LovEat’s extensive menu also includes a wide selection of hearty pastas, (VND 200,000-250,000), salads (VND 140,000-190,000) and meals for meat lovers.
The restaurant’s Italian patisserie makes everything in-house, including the aforementioned tiramisu. However, if you really feel like indulging you can try the ‘half-metre plate’ dessert (VND 320,000), which is as advertised and includes a tiramisu, lemongrass muffin, chocolate salami, cream caramel and fresh fruit and cream tart.
In the new year there are also plans to open a lounge bar on the restaurant’s fourth-floor roof terrace, so you can extend your stay at this wonderful establishment a little bit longer.