Hanoi’s Wine Scene

8343259A wine lover’s dream. Hanoi has a vibrant wine scene and here’s my list of some favorite bars and restaurants with great choices in wine and tasting notes. Whether it’s pairing wine with Vietnamese and Mediterranean food, or a glass of wine with friends at sunset overlooking Hanoi’s lakes, here are some of the best spots. The most amazing bottle of wine you have ever tasted might just be the next one, so never stop searching and never stop drinking. Cheers!

My Top Favourites

La Badiane Hanoi has many restaurants that celebrate the Vietnamese-French culture so If you want to know the definition of “real French” in the middle of Hanoi, go to La Badiane. A Fusion of local and regional ingredients blended into classical French cooking. A great selection of wines, my favourites here are the Beaujolais and Premier Cru from Joseph Drouhin and the Spanish Bodegas Arzuaga Navarro with (Sweet dark cherry overlying pure red fruit with appealing wood smoke and blackberry set among grippy tannins) The restaurant setting is elegant and you’re welcome to pass by for wine and an aperitif. The restaurant delivers interesting tasting menus, including one designed with the most discerning gourmands in mind. La Badiane’s vegetarian menu is as sophisticated as its Dégustation Menu: a four course feast, with authentic flavors, which will convert you into a lover of the French cuisine. 8265104

Avalon Cafe Lounge Refreshments with a view. First I love their amazing roof top terrace with views over the lake, this is one of my favourite spots to relax with friends over a glass of wine and some very delicious snacks. You can eat here too and they have good Vietnamese & Western cuisine. Their selection of wine is varied, I would like to recommend the Pascal Jolivet blanc from the Loire Valley and Spanish Hecula red wine with (plum, fig, berriesintense balsamic aromas) The lounge bar is open all day, till late and a glass of chilled wine on the roof top late afternoon is magical. If you like, top off the experience with a snack to go along with your drinks. Both their Vietnamese and Western dishes are prepared creatively with the freshest ingredients. Then sit back and enjoy the view of the lake while the sun goes down and the city lights start illuminating the night skies. 8344295

Salmonoid Elegant fusion cuisine: There’s a new aroma and a new concept in town and it’s called Salmonoid. The idea is to create a wide range of fusion cuisines all based on salmon. Located in a beautiful villa with terraces and balconies which are filled with exotic palms sets the mood for Wine & Fine dining. A really great selection of wines, my choices would be Chateau Haut Selve, Graves with (Morello cherry, cedar, vanilla toast and black fruit notes) paired with the Grilled lamb-rack & Salmon with ginger sauce or with the Grilled beef & Salmon on potatoe puree. Also try the delicious Salmon Symphony with a chilled white wine. 8344297

Au Lac House:  I love sitting here at sunset on the villa veranda with it’s majestic columns, the black and white tiled floor and the wooden shutters surounded by shady trees it feels like stepping back in time, it’s wonderfully French-Vietnamese, and to have in my hand a glass of Chateau Paveil or Pessac Leognan. The beauty of this villa with its great selection of French wines to pair with the delicious Vietnamese cuisine on offer makes this a wonderful spot for lunch or dinner. Though I love just passing an hour or two here drinking some seriously good wine. Don’t be fooled by the French name though – the restaurant specializes in traditional Vietnamese cuisine, serving all-time favorites such as fresh and fried spring rolls, and more extravagant dishes, like roasted duck in mandarin sauce. 8344380

Sunset Bar at InterContinental Hanoi Westlake. Champagne and sunsets : In a super location with a large terrace overlooking the lake, this is the place to sit and enjoy Hanoi’s amazing sunsets. With large cane and bamboo sofas and shady gazebos it doesn’t get more luxurious than this and if you feel like splurging they have a really good choice of different sparkling wines to enjoy such as Champagne, Prosecco, Cava and Cremant. This is the go to wine spot in Hanoi as they host a Vinoteca event each month with seriously good wine. They also have red & white wines imported from famous wineries around the world. 8344292

Vine Restaurant & Wine Bar Worldly wines & innovative plates. Located in the buzzing restaurant and bar area of Tay Ho, this has to be one of my favourite wine bars in Hanoi. They have a superb selection of wines, the decor has a luxurious ‘wine cellar’ style and if you’re looking for something special this is the place. I enjoyed a Turriga Isola Dei Nuraghi 2003 with two years aging in French barriques, Turriga has notes of Mediterranean herbs, roasted coffee, spices, and licorice with a generous core of black and red fruit.) they also have a good range of Tiganello and South African wines from the Winery of Good Hope. I’ll just add they have friendly staff and really good metierranean cuisine. 8344290.jpg

Local Bar Wines in a party atmosphere, 16 Ta Hien Hoan Kiem. Aimed at a younger generation of wine lovers, this party place serves wines such as light Italian roses and crisp French Sauvignon Blancs.  If you are feeling adventurous and want to go for something out of the ordinary, test their signature wine cocktails. Drop by with your friends in the evening and dance the night away to their cool tunes or come by during the day and sit and chill.  The wines on offer change each week as choices are aimed at good value for your ‘dong’. Local Bar is in the old quarter and has those cute Vietnamese cafe chairs and tables outside the bar where you can sit and watch the ever changing panorama of the French quarter. 8344291

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An Bang Beach, Hoi An, Vietnam

an-bang-beach-hoi-an-08-600x400Everything you need to know about An Bang Beach and its wonderful Soul Kitchen Bar Restaurant.

“As I sit on the grass perched over the beach, staring out to sea, sated and listening to the vibes of the house blending in with the gentle roll of ocean onto sand, it occurs to me that if I turned to stone and sat here for a millennium or three, that would be perfectly alright with me. Frank’s marvelous, mystical kitchen has once again, saved my soul.” Read on…. http://www.urban-flavours.com/2015/03/soul-kitchen/

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Gerard Bertrand 6 Course Wine&Dine in Hanoi

We are pleased to invite you to our next Wine & Dine event on the Friday 15th of May.

Our Chef “Benjamin Rascalou” has designed for this special occasion a 6-course fine-dining menu including 3 starters, a roasted camembert and a selection of chocolate delicacies for the final touch. The master piece, a marinated Australian Prime be
f Tenderloin in 5 peppers, will be served for main.

Each course will be paired by a different wine from “Gerard Bertrand”, one of the most renowned wine maker of South-West France, including their famous and excellent “Cigalus” and “l’Hospitalitas” (See tasting notes attached).
To know more about Gerard Bertrand, please visit is website: http://www.gerard-bertrand.com/en

Come to enjoy yourself with a delightful and unique epicurean experience at La Badiane for only 2,100,000VND / person. (Please be informed, the number of guests is limited to 25 so we highly encourage you to book as soon as possible if you would like to join us)

Reservation:
Email: florent.labadiane@gmail.com or labadianehanoi@yahoo.fr
Tel: (04) 39.42.45.09

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Bun Cha with good company – Hanoi’s Cat Cafés

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In Asia, there’s a growing demand for quirky cat cafés where customers can enjoy coffee and cake while petting adorable kitties. Once considered a mainly Japanese phenomenon, Cat Cafes are now spreading across the globe. A number of feline-friendly cafes have opened in Europe and the U.S.

Lauren Pears – the founder of London’s first Cat Cafe – said demand is going to increase. “As cities become more densely populated – and the option to have a pet is less likely – of course cat cafes are going to be more popular,” “Cats have a very special relationship with humans, and if you can’t get that at home, people are going to look elsewhere.”

I’ve discovered a fabulous Cat Café here in Hanoi… Actually it’s more of a café cum restaurant in To Ngoc Van near the Sedona Suites… Here, it’s Bun Cha, which has what it takes to shake Pho off its perch as Vietnam’s most-loved dish.  Small, fragrant minced-pork patties grilled over charcoal, then delivered to your table with bowls of hot broth, round rice noodles (bun), loads of herbs, chopped chilli and garlic, and a platter of Nem Cua Be (crisp spring rolls stuffed with crab meat). You dip the pork and the spring rolls in the broth in a multi-textured frenzy of freshness, tang, smoke and scorch…Plus you get the sweet kitty as extra company, Ahh this Hanoi Cat Café is the best…

 

Rigatoni al Granchio – Recipe

Rigatoni sugo granchi

This recipe celebrates all that is delicious about crab. The combined sweetness of the crab and tomatoes is a great flavour match for the fresh, aniseedy kick of the fennel.

 

olive oil
2 large fennel bulbs
4 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, stalks finely chopped
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
2 lemons
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
250 g cherry tomatoes, on the vine
500 g rigatoni, dried or fresh
250 g undressed brown crabmeat, from sustainable sources
250 g white crabmeat, from sustainable sources

 

Place a frying pan over a medium heat and add a good glug of olive oil. Peel and finely chop the outer layers of the fennel. Set the leafy tops and inner hearts aside to make a salad later. Add the chopped fennel and garlic to the pan and cook for 2–3 minutes, or until soft.

Add the parsley stalks, chilli flakes, cinnamon and fennel seeds to the pan and fry for 2–3 minutes. Finely grate in the zest from your 2 lemons (reserve the lemons) and add the tinned tomatoes. Sit the cherry tomatoes, vines and all, on top to poach. Cover, reduce the heat to low and leave to simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to packet instructions.

While the pasta and sauce are cooking away, crack on with the salad. Push the reserved fennel hearts and one of the zested lemons through the thinnest slicing attachment on your food processor – or use a mandolin (or a knife). Tip into a bowl and season with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Add the reserved fennel tops and gently toss with your fingers. Put aside until you’re ready to serve.

Check the tomato sauce – it should look rich and glossy and the tomatoes should be soft and squashy. Carefully pick out and discard the vine, leaving the tomatoes in the pan. Gently stir in the brown crabmeat and let it heat up.

Drain the pasta, reserving a cupful of cooking water, then gently fold it through the ragù with the white crabmeat, adding a little of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce if needed. Serve the pasta on a lovely big platter with the fennel salad bang on top so you can mix and toss the two together as you serve. Chop the remaining lemon into wedges and serve on the side for squeezing over. The mix of flavours is a knockout!

BUON APPETITO!!!!

The Tam Dao Bear Sanctuary – Meet Mausi

mausi

MAUSI

Female
Mausi arrived at our Vietnam sanctuary in June 2007 after being discovered with two other tiny cubs in a secret compartment under a passenger bus – headed for a life of torture on a bile farm. Mausi thrived in her new environment and her excitement over anything new was a joy to watch. She has grown into a sweet-natured, playful young bear. She shares her den and outdoor enclosures with a large group of bears, mostly energetic juveniles but also a couple of mature bears. Mausi gets along famously with them all.

Spread over an area of 12 hectares, the sanctuary has over 10,000 square metres of seminatural outdoor enclosure space designed to stimulate the bears’ natural behaviour The Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre is about a two-hour drive from Hanoi. You can visit the bears on these dates:

 4 and 18 October
1, 15 and 29 November 13 and 20 December
To book your visit, please email info@animalsasia.org

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https://www.animalsasia.org//intl/our-work/end-bear-bile-farming/what-we-do/bear-sanctuaries/vietnam-bear-sanctuary/vietnam-bear-sanctuary.html

Italian Food Tour – This week Calabria

Most of the cuisine of Calabria is heavily influenced by the Mediterranean and is often spicy. Pasta dishes with peppers, onions and sausage sauteed with or without sauce are very common. Frittatas made with pasta and sausage are also prevalent. Eggplant/Aubergine is a favorite dish in the region and is served in a variety of ways, Ciambotta, stewed aubergine, tomatoes and potatoes seasoned with onion and peppers, is eaten either hot or cold. In Calabrian cuisine, pork is the preferred meat. Preserving meat as sausage, ham and salame keeps it fresh through the year. Murseddu is a savory pork and veal liver pie seasoned with tomato and peppers and Capocollo di Calabria is a tender pork marinated with vinegar, massaged and pressed with whole black peppercorns. Anime Beate, a sweet pastry pocket-style dessert is a traditional sweet and another local favourite is Torrone di Bagnara, a sweet nougat.

 

Polpette di Melanzane – Aubergine medallionsimages

Maccheroncini Salsiccia & Oliva – Fresh handmade pasta with aromatised sausage meat and olives.279855_2212872331664_1543210054_2358045_1647251_o

Maiale all’Aceto – Pork tenderloin cooked in a cherry vinegar sauce.dsc_0279

Anime Beate – Calabrian style doughnuts filled with chocolate.baos

Buon appetito!

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Italian Food Tour – This week week Lazio

ravioli-con-piselliAt Il Faro this week’s culinary trip is taking you to Lazio. The Lazio region, located in central Italy, has always been a seat of cultural exchange, especially during the Roman Age. Simple pasta sauces, roast meats and pork products dominate the table. The sauces that adorn the pasta dishes in Lazio, vary from the very simple like cacio e pepe, or salty Roman pecorino and pepper, to much more elaborate recipes that may include butter, egg, pancetta or guanciale. The traditional pasta sauce from Amatrice, called Amatriciana, is made by sautéing onions in pork fat, adding tomatoes and spices and allowing the flavors to come together. The sauces are typically served with long pasta noodles like spaghetti and fettuccine. Short, or broken pasta, often appears in soups, where it is pairs with beans, chickpeas, cabbage, or broccoli and flavored with pounded lard, onions and herbs. Beef is the meat of choice in Lazio, however lamb and kid is also served. Coda alla Vaccinara, or braised oxtail, is a popular Roman dish. Outside of the city, and especially during the spring, you can find abbacchio, or lamb, baked in the oven, roasted on a spit or prepared in a fricassee. Many people eat chicken as well and either roast it or cook it with tomato and peppers, or in a pan with fiery spices. The most popular regional pork recipe is porchetta alla romana.

This week we have chosen 4 dishes that are typical of Lazio:

Antipasto:

Prosciutto e Melone – Parma ham a jewel in Italian culinary tradition, a dry-cured ham that is usually thinly sliced and served with cool melon wedges, an explosion of flavours.

Il Primo:

Agnolotti alla Romana con creme di piselli – Fresh egg pasta parcels filled with roast beef and herbs in a delicious cream pea sauce.agnolottidutto

Il Secondo:

Salti in Bocca – veal Cutlets filled with sage and ham and cooked off in a white wine sauce.piatto-pronto-bicchieri-tovagliolo-azzurro_dettaglio_ricette_slider_grande3

Il Dolce:

Macedonia di Cesare –  A salad of fresh mixed marinated fruits.

 

Come by and try the best dishes from this region. 

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