A touch of France
Da Nang’s Ho Nghinh Street is a popular spot among local people and tourists alike, as it’s home to a host of popular seafood restaurants.
|SUPERB SURROUNDS: The Temptation sits in a French villa boasting tranquillity and elegance. Photo courtesy of the restaurant|
I’ve been to the central city many times and every visit make sure I head to Ho Nghinh at least once for seafood.
On a recent trip, however, I was introduced to The Temptation Restaurant, where French cuisine is mixed with quintessential Vietnamese cuisine.
The Temptation looks elegant and tranquil underneath a green canopy. Indoors is well-decorated with posh furniture, old wine bottles, and a European architectural style.
Luckily, I was at the restaurant when chef La Thừa Ân had introduced his latest creations of Western delicacies mixed with tropical fruit - a summer gift for guests.
Chef Ân was born in Hue and inherited a passion and care for cooking from his mother.
The capital city of the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945), Hue is known for its sophisticated and refined gastronomy. Ân learned his cooking in France and worked for 30 years at restaurants around Europe and at five-star hotels in Vietnam.
He has now established The Temptation, where he presents a fusion of European fine-dining and exquisite Vietnamese cuisine as well as the Hue royal culinary style.
|A CUT ABOVE: Australian beef tenderloin and pan-fried foie gras served with baked vegetables and mascarpone cream cheese sauce.|
My culinary journey began with an exciting canapé: a bite-sized bread and French duck liver parfait and a cup of eye-catching gazpacho made from beetroot.
The finger-sized pieces were arranged on the plate like a work of art, expressing the care, imagination, and aesthetic of chef Ân. A glass of white wine from Côtes du Rhône was seductive and created a match made in heaven.
To bring a perfect experience to guests, all main courses are served on hot plates so the food remains warm for up to 10 minutes.
After being advised to try the special summer dishes marking an experiment by chef Ân with tropical fruit, I asked the waiter if I could indeed try them. I wasn’t disappointed. The menu so impressed my friends and I that we spoke about The Temptation many times later.
We began with a mesclun salad with sautée prawns and a raspberry dressing. Mesclun is originally a mix of assorted small young salad greens from Provence. Here, the chef used slightly bitter baby greens, buttery avocado, and a sweet and sour raspberry dressing to strike a balance.
Next, we tried the pumpkin soup with vanilla and coconut milk, which was extraordinarily aromatic and nutty sweet. The soup was viscous and squashy, its texture velvety, helping us prepare for the high-protein courses to follow.
|SET TO IMPRESS: Mesclun salad with sautée prawns, raspberry dressing, and caviar. VNS Photos San San|
The selection of main courses was diverse, with grilled seabass with thyme and olive oil served with grilled vegetables; pan-fried scallops marinated with Cajun spices, pumpkin puree, and sautéed asparagus; Australian beef tenderloin served with pan-fried foie gras and mascarpone cream cheese sauce; and grilled salmon served with baked vegetables.
We skipped those classic delicacies and tried Challans duck, which most top chefs recommend as the best duck in the world for its lean and tender flesh.
The chef made a great combination between French duck and a lychee sauce. Lychee is a signature fruit of Vietnam this season. A whole Challans duck is about 1.5kg (VND1.2 million), enough for four to six people and served with sautéed potatoes, raisins, garlic, honey, and, of course, a lychee sauce. The special sauce made the duck meat even richer and more delicious and it’s a must-try dish if you ever visit The Temptation in summer.
One plus point for restaurant is its beautiful corners, where wonderful photos can be taken. All dishes are decorated with edible fresh flowers, so you’re sure to have a memorable dining experience while in Da Nang. VNS
The Temptation Restaurant
Add: 125 Hồ Nghinh Street, Sơn Trà District, Đà Nẵng
Tel: 081 795 2552
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