Creatively sculpted dishes employ molecular gastronomy and presentation to showcase old favourites in surprising new ways. By Lien Hoang. Photos by Christian Berg.
In one area, guests can have dinner, while upstairs a company gala is going on. At the same time, merrymakers are at the bar next door, across the courtyard from a party in the glass building.
And all of it would be happening at the same restaurant, Ly Club. Occupying the grounds of a former French villa, the establishment has a lot of property to work with, giving it quite a bit of versatility, to the tune of a 240-guest capacity.
Ly Club should be finishing up its wine cellar this month, followed by a new menu in September that sources more local, seasonal, and organic produce for Vietnamese and western fare.
Dessi de Vries, a former Dutch royal chef, is clearly one for experimentation. His skewered shrimp in red curry mousse has a hint of spice while staying mild enough for the mass palate. The reverse tomato mozzarella, which involves blending each ingredient separately and serving them as spheres, is particularly inventive with balsamic caviar and its pesto jelly. The jelly doesn’t add much flavour to the plate, but the spheres surprise with their bursts of moisture. Both involve molecular gastronomy to try out new textures with foods we thought we knew.
With seared tuna and shrimp, it’s hard to go wrong. The tuna squares appear in checkered arrangement to underscore their dual textures, with a butter topping that’s unexpectedly sweet. The poached shrimp form a sort of dragon resting among pumpkin, ginger risotto, lobster bisque, bell peppers and asparagus. The ginger adds a nice touch, as uncommon as the pumpkin that’s roasted to bring out strong flavours.
Finally, a white chocolate Bailey’s mousse pays tribute to Vietnam’s snaking shape. It seems to pile on as many supporting actors as could fit on the plate: pistachio sponge cake, raspberry-strawberry balls, puffed rice with white chocolate, coconut jelly, caramel fudge, and edible gold flakes. Why people eat gold flakes is beyond me, though it looks good. Each accessory helps to draw out the unique taste of Bailey’s. Every meal ends with a free trio of yogurt pudding, a chocolate cookie with truffles, and a pistachio macaron.
These dishes come from the new menu, for which prices haven’t been set, but on the current one appetisers start at VND 120,000, entrees range from VND 150,000-1.3 million, and desserts start at VND 90,000. Ly Club also has a location in Hanoi.