Vietnamese and Spanish are two of my all-time favourite cuisines; Viet Kitchen and La Paloma are two of my favourite Vietnamese and Spanish restaurants respectively. You can therefore imagine the excitement when I heard that Chef Peter Cuong Franklin from Viet Kitchen and Chef Vito Chiavacci from La Paloma were joining hands to create a special menu that combines the best of both cuisines. The two chefs, who also happen to be great friends, will be preparing their exciting menu for two nights only: 25th November at La Paloma; and 28th November at Viet Kitchen.
I was lucky enough to enjoy a sneak preview of this very menu a week ahead of time and I couldn’t recommend it enough.
The evening begins with a Vietnamese-style sangria, whereby the classic Spanish cocktail is infused with star anise, lemongrass, mint and cinnamon to create an even more refreshing version that gets those taste buds fired up for the rest of the evening. If you later wish to have more sangria or Vietnamese/Spanish beers, these are also available. The Spanish beer is in fact apparently made by world famous Chef Ferrán Adriá.
The menu incorporates traditional Spanish and Vietnamese dishes, each prepared with a twist of the other cuisine. One of the highlights is without a doubt the jamón ibérico bahn mi with crispy squid and both Vietnamese and Spanish pickles.
I adored the “calamares rellenos”, which Chef Peter described as basically a Vietnamese spring roll, but using baby squid in the place of rice paper. Topped with crispy pancetta and served with a sprinkling of paprika, these were absolutely beautiful.
If you’re familiar with Hanoi’s famous restaurant Cha Ca La Vong, you’ll appreciate the “Lubina”, prepared in a similar style to the original Vietnamese dish, yet using olive oil and a cooked cabbage salad.
Suckling pig is a typical Spanish dish; Chef Peter adds a Vietnamese touch by serving it with fresh herbs and lettuce leaves, so you can make your own little san choi bao that will thoroughly blow your mind.
Whatever you do, leave space for dessert, as the toasted coconut ice cream with caramelised banana, passion fruit sauce and Saigon cinnamon rice krispies is 100 percent worth it.
The La Paloma X Viet Kitchen 8-course menu is priced at only $488 per person. It will be available on the following dates only, please call the respective restaurant to reserve a table:
Wednesday 25th November at La Paloma
Tel: +852 2291 6161
Address: 1/F, SoHo 189, 189 Queen’s Road West, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong
Saturday 28th November at Viet Kitchen
Tel: +852 2806 2068
Address: Lobby, Nexxus Building, 41 Connaught Road, Central, Hong Kong