Barbara Adam investigates Q.itchen Factory, tasty Asian-inspired sharing platters in a surprising location. Photos by Romain Garrigue.
It’s an ambitious goal to set out to create a new “destination dining” experience, a place that’s so good people will drive for miles to visit.
It’s even more ambitious to be a hospitality equipment supply company seeking to showcase your wares by setting up a restaurant.
So far, all this ambition doesn’t seem misplaced. Q.itchen Factory, in the back lots of District 7, seems to have everything it takes to make people travel for Asian-inspired tapas made from locally-sourced ingredients.
There’s the mystery of the location, in an export processing zone. And once you find the building, with its sparkling showrooms of industrial kitchen equipment, you need to find the restaurant.
Q.itchen Factory pays homage to its origins with a stylish industrial chic interior, part steam punk, part factory-floor, with portholes looking into the warehouse.
Executive Chef Adrian Chong Yen presides over the open kitchen, which is full of the very latest in whizz-bang kitchen gear.
Originally from Malaysia, Adrian moved to Singapore as a teenager. There he went to cooking school and began working at various restaurants in the city-state.
At one point he became so obsessed with Spanish cuisine he moved to San Sebastian for several months. Now he’s melding his Asian roots and Spanish experience in Saigon, where his Singapore-based employer, Q Industries, is expanding.
The Q.itchen Factory team are also hoping to build momentum in Vietnam for the “locavore” movement, where people eat locally-grown food. Here, everything is also served local-style, as sharing platters.
Meals begin with a nod to Southern Vietnamese cuisine, with a selection of dips served with a bowl of greens and herbs instead of bread.
After snacking on the greens, we moved on to the delicious and colourful farm chicken salad (VND150,000), with purple cabbage, lotus root, fried shallots and crunchy rice crispies — the Q.itchen Factory version of croutons — dressed with a tangy vinegar and fish sauce dressing.
The beef short ribs, sautéed with mushrooms, potato puree & veal reduction (VND210,000) was a carnivore’s dream. Tender well-seasoned beef, with a tasty yet slightly unusual take on mashed potato.
The grilled pork chop glazed with soy and honey (VND250,000 for two people, VND 350,000 for three) was my personal favourite. The pork, topped with garlic chives, parsley, sesame seeds and the Q.itchen signature popped rice, was incredibly tender for such a fat cut. The seasoning worked well with the mild flavour of the pork, and the side of crispy potatoes with garlic aoili and smoked paprika was so moorish I’d recommend not sharing this part of the meal with anyone, no matter how much you love them.
The cuttlefish noodles with prawn vinaigrette capsicum confit (VND150,000) was a tasty surprise. The noodles, strips of cuttlefish poached in verjuice and prawn stock, looked like pasta, but the texture was slightly different and the taste much richer.
All in all, a meal worth crossing town for!
Q.itchen Factory’s building also has a cooking studio onsite, which can be used for teambuilding, cooking classes and product launches.