Sunday, December 4 2016

VietNamNews

A little taste of France beats the chill

Update: January, 31/2016 - 07:28

Lovers of French food should stop off at Millenium when they get the chance to experience a delectable night of true haute cuisine. Thanh Ha reports.

Diverse: Millenium attracts customers from many different nations. To meet rising demand, its menu is regularly updated and served to order.

French cuisine is globally known for its finesse and flavour. I always thought it was a luxury, expensive and not within my reach.

But my family was invited to enjoy this haute cuisine at the Millenium, a truly French restaurant that has been operating in Ha Noi for nearly 20 years.

The contemporary and chic restaurant provides a totally different atmosphere to its diners, just as you enter it.

It is simple but also elegant and luxurious, with black being the dominant colour of the whole decor. Stunning black and white photos adorn the walls and antique Buddhas keep watch over local and foreign patrons.

I and my family entered the restaurant on a freezing and rainy night and so, we wanted to warm up with crab soup, tartare of smoked salmon and beef carpaccio for starters. We then chose sauteed salmon with seafood sauce as my son is a huge fan of this fish.

Perfect plates: (from top) Tournedos Rossini, Tartare of Smoked Salmon and Beef Carpaccio presented are the perfect introduction to haute cuisine at the Millenium Restaurant and Brasserie. — VNS Photos Thanh Ha

I took the steak tartare, while my husband wanted Tournedos Rossini, a really famous dish of France. 

When we were waiting for the food, we were served a mixed dish of appetisers such as a small cup of French traditional onion soup, a slice of smoked duck breast, a piece of chef's cold cut and two slices of homemade bread.

Wow! It was more than what I expected because even in an awarded hotel, I have never received such a wonderful reception.

It was a good way of starting an extensive dinner, as all the starters came soon.

The soup was welcomed by the two men in the group, who said it not only had a strong crab flavour, there were also other kinds of seafood such as peeled shrimps, squid and slices of tuna.

My son could not wait and immediately moved to his favourite dish.

It was a combination of raw salmon fillet and smoked salmon chopped into small cubes, lime juice, sour cream and cucumber, besides chopped shallots, dill, capers and mustard and some other ingredients.

When I tasted it, I knew it was one of the best dishes I had ever eaten.

Millenium Restaurant-Brasserie

Address: 11 Bao Khanh Lane,

Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi

Website: www.cafe-des-arts.com

Tel: (04) 38 287 207

Price: from VND150,000

Open from: 9am-11pm

Comment: Haute cuisine; nice decor; terrace is the best choice on a sunny day.

It was amazing, really delicious and after the first taste, one would want a second bite and a third and would quickly finish the whole plate.

Personally, I simply couldn't wait to google the recipe and save it for my coming holiday events, although I knew that my effort would not be as good as the one here.

The beef carpaccio was a form of food art with its beautiful presentation. Very thin slices of beef were spread on a white plate, topped with minced fresh basil and cheese.

Above all, there was a beautiful rose made of beef. The flower must be for the only lady in the family!

The dish, which was poured with olive oil, really worked as a starter as it was fresh and light, enough to excite us, while we waited for the main course.

Salmon, beef tartare and Rossini came some minutes after we finished the starters.

I was impressed most with the Rossini, the most expensive item on the menu. It is a French steak dish, comprising beef tournedos, pan-fried in butter, and crowned with a hot slice of fresh, whole foie gras, briefly pan-fried at the last minute. The dish is garnished with slices of truffle, sauteed potatoes and accompanied by red wine sauce.

Traditionally, it is served on a crouton. But in our dish, the crouton was replaced by fried thin slices of crispy coconut, according to my guess.

It was wonderful work by a chef who had arrived in Viet Nam just about three months ago.

The meat was tender, soft and juicy. The foie gras had melted a little in the sauce.

The fat transports the flavour to all taste buds, and combined in one bite, the dish tasted awesome.

"We're doing comfort food. And Tournedos Rossini is comfort food deluxe," Gegard Gastel, the restaurant owner who pays a lot of attention to his customers, said.

We noticed that he checked every table and even entered the kitchen, periodically supervising the chefs.

Even though the dish costs US$35 a plate (foie gras and truffles are expensive), the restaurant offers it the year round and doesn't worry if there are no orders in the lean season.

The element that made me love the beef dish was the aforementioned sauce.

"My chef is a master of sauces. He is a graduate from a restaurant run by French Chef Paul Bocuse, who is famous for the high quality of his restaurants and his innovative approach to cuisines in Lyon. He can make many different kinds of sauces and, as I know, they are all wonderful," Gegard said proudly about his chef, who has 17 years of experience.

His sweet and sour and blazing red sauce made the beef, in my opinion, tastier and appetising.

I did not waste any of the sauce, and used my finger to wipe the plateclean before giving a thumbs-up for Chef Emmanuel Gonin and his creation.

What got me excited was that Gonin happily promised to give me the recipe of the sauce. Yelp! Love his food, love his character.

The waiters were super friendly and responded to every request. My son finished the salmon dish, and I didn't get a chance to taste it. But it must have been nice as he kept telling me about the amazing dish till the next day.

The steak tartare, a dish of minced raw beef mixed with onions, capers, raw egg yolk and seasoning, serving with mashed potato, seemed too much for us that night. A friendly girl came and packed it for us to take it home.

It was still freezing outside, but the great dinner opened my mind to haute cuisine. I recommend the place to all those who are curious about it! — VNS



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