East meets West at the Mangosteen
|Bright and cheerful: The interior of the Mangosteen Restaurant has been thoughtfully designed to reflect the colours of the reddish-brown Mangosteen fruit. — VNS Photos Thuy Anh
|Clean, lean cuisine: Fresh spring rolls stuffed with pork and shrimp, a popular Vietnamese dish.
Address: 83A Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi
Tel: +844 38222800 (ext.6148)
Hours: 6:30pm-10:30pm every Friday and Saturday
Price: VND499,000 (US$25)
Comment: Gourmets can enjoy Vietnamese dishes from the north, central and southern regions.
The recently relocated Mangosteen Restaurant offers a tantalising array of Western and Asian dishes to meet the varied tastes of its international diners. Thanh Ha
reports.The Sum Vay Buffet at Mangosteen Restaurant, Movenpick, located in the centre of Ha Noi, features an array of sumptuous Vietnamese cuisine, as well as cultural elements of the north of Viet Nam.
As soon as we walked in, we were impressed by Mangosteen's decor, with its blend of new and traditional. The setting provided a soothing backdrop to our meal. The colour tones matched down to the table cloths and salt and pepper shakers.
Customers of Mangosteen, recently relocated to the second floor of the Movenpick Hotel, can visit the rooftop of the five-star hotel to admire the city's skyline.
The drink menu featured a number of wines and beers, both domestically made and imported.
The food menu was almost bewildering with its array of choices of Vietnamese dishes.
I decided to go around the showcased buffet which includes cold section, including marinated veal with lemon grass, banana blossoms and duck breast salad with prawn and vegetable spring rolls.
Some other dishes that caught my eye included crab meat and sweet corn soup, braised carp with spicy tomato sauce and steamed clam cooked in ginger and lemon grass.
My friend told me that we should have a seat before making any decisions. So, enjoying the atmosphere, we did just that.
We started with fresh spring rolls and two salads, one made with prawn and the other with vermicelli.
Our main course was grilled chicken in lemon grass. Even though this is something we'd both made at home, this version was impressive because of the freshness of the ingredients.
My friend then suggested the grilled duck breast. It came marinated with galangal and lime leaves with sweet chilli dip. Both of us agreed that this was one of our favourite dishes served.
The experience, as a whole, was quite a pleasant experience compared to the same dishes we'd had at careless street stalls serving cold tofu and limp salad.
Hotel general manager Philip Jones said, "Perhaps the biggest challenge is to meet the tastes of international guests and Vietnamese customers, who have their own specific tastes."
Once the desert tray came out, our appetites came back: black forest cake, five pudding, sticky flax seed and rice cakes, coconut pudding...
Again, we had a difficult time choosing. But in the end the server brought out a platter of nicely presented fruit – dragon fruit, papaya, rambuttan and watermelon, laid alongside Vietnamese violet sticky rice.
|Chocolate treat: Chocolate spring rolls served with mousse.
Of course, this was a more traditional option. There were also western dishes, such as tapioca pudding and sponge cake with chocolate sauce.
All in all the experience was soothing and pleasant, almost like an afternoon at a spa.
Perhaps the best thing about the restaurant is that it can cater to both Vietnamese and foreign tastes. It was only our limited appetites that stopped us from trying more things on the menu.
The buffet is available at VND490,000 + + per person, from 6:30pm to 10:30pm every Friday and Saturday.
There is a 20 per cent discount for groups of six or more. Groups of 10 or more receive a 30 per cent discount. Children between the ages of three to 12 are charged half-price, while those under three can eat for free.
Any culinary shortcomings were more than compensated by the wide selections and the friendly, pleasant atmosphere.
Located near famous Quan Su Pagoda, Mangosteen Restaurant might be a perfect complement to a show. It could also be the a great venue for private parties, able to accommodate more than 100 guests. — VNS