In this blog post, I cover Viet:Nom, India's first authentic Vietnamese bar and dining restaurant in CyberHub Gurugram.
When I used to live in Seoul, many years ago, I used to frequent an authentic Vietnamese restaurant near my apartment. Food served in this restaurant was so effing good; even after all these years, the taste still lingers and makes me want to visit them again.
Last month my prayers were answered, partially though. I was invited to the preopening of Viet:Nom, India's first authentic Vietnamese bar and dining restaurant in CyberHub Gurugram.
Since I was one of the firsts to visit the property, I could meet and spend time with the key people behind this project – Manish Sharma (curator of the super lit Molecule Air Bar and The Drunken Botanist) and seasoned chef Vaibhav Bhargava.
For the uninitiated, Vaibhav and I are already connected on Facebook. Meeting him in person for the first time didn't feel awkward. I knew that he had traveled to Vietnam a few months ago – with Rupali Dean – to develop a greater understanding of the original Vietnamese ethos.
|Vietnamese Grilled Salmon|
Vaibhav and Rupali began their culinary adventure in Hanoi (North), traveling all the way down to Ho Chi Minh City (South). They covered Hoi An and Nha Trang, among other places, to explore the indigenous delicacies, markets and eating habits of the Vietnamese.
|Vietnamese Chicken Mango Curry|
From enjoyable café sua da (iced coffee with condensed milk) and French-inspired pastries to pho (noodle soup), seasonal fruit and bun dau (fried tofu), they experienced the gourmet delights of Vietnam together, which actually paved the way for Viet:Nom!
|Grilled Jumbo Prawns|
Viet:Nom aims to extend the quintessential dishes from the vibrant Vietnamese culture, making it suitable for Indian palates. The meticulously crafted menu is inspired by a land rich in culinary traditions and authentic flavors.
|LA Lot Chicken|
The tasting began with a range of specially curated mocktails like the Tom Yang, Thai Mist, Avalanche, and Grapine Glass.
[For some quaint reason, I could only see my favorite Avalanche on Viet:Nom's new menu; the other drinks were probably curated for the pre-launch only. Also, when I visited Viet:Nom, they had still not obtained the liquor license. Apparently, the bar is fully functional now; so expect a flurry of cocktails and concoctions, along with your favorite alcohol.]
Avalanche is made of elderflower syrup, cranberry juice, and grapefruit puree, topped up with ginger ale.
The innovative drinks were paired with Dimsums and Pho, to begin with. I absolutely loved the White Rose Dimsum, soft steamed tapioca flour dumplings filled with ground mung beans. This was followed by another winner, Chicken and Chili Dimsum, succulent juicy dumplings served with ginger sauce.
|Chicken and Chili Dimsum|
|Prawn and Shisho Dimsums|
With Vaibhav churning out one fabulous dish after the other, it was difficult to hold back my excitement.
If you were to ask me honestly, I prefer the Small Plates at Viet:Nom. Reason? Just like the street food in Vietnam is ideal for a light lunch or to start the evening meal, dishes like the Crispy Tofu and Char Grilled Pork Ribs are made to perfection.
|Char Grilled Pork Ribs|
Salad is eaten all year round in Vietnam - be it the North or South. I also couldn't resist the temptation to try the fresh Seafood Salad from the menu. This delicious salad was made of prawns, squid, fish tossed with vegetables, herbs, and lemon chili dressing.
Another highlight at Viet:Nom was the Summer Rolls, especially the healthy Salmon and Avocado, made of Scottish salmon, avocado, cream cheese, tobiko, and shisho. I also enjoyed the Fresh Vegetables Summer Rolls, which are essentially rice paper rolls filled with seasonal market vegetables, vermicelli noodles, Vietnamese herbs served with peanut sauce.
|Fresh Vegetables Summer Rolls|
Still room for more? Try the Five Spice Tofu Spring Rolls, crispy and filled with glass noodles, vegetables, and tofu. Served with salad and peanut hoisin chili.
Did you know that most Vietnamese people enjoy finishing their meal with moist, refreshing fruits, as opposed to desserts? Keeping up with this tradition, I also ordered the Yoghurt Parfait made of fresh seasonal fruits, chilled yogurt, and crisp coconut.
|Pearl Jewels with Mango|
A big draw of this place is how deeply it connects with the actual vibe of Vietnam. The music, the murals, everything contributes bit by bit to a restaurant that's more than just its food or drinks!
As I bid goodbye to what was a wonderful evening at Viet:Nom, I couldn't help but notice the intricate and soulful interiors, with art oozing out of resplendently painted walls, and pops of yellow and green splattered throughout the restaurant. The beautifully designed alfresco dining area and a fully decked bar were truly reminiscent of Vietnam.
Come, dive deep into the rich culture of Vietnam, only at Viet:Nom.