Sunday, 22/10/2023 10:00

Taste of the sea: a brunch extravaganza

By Hamy Nguyễn

There is something magic about brunch, a leisurely meal that offers a tantalising array of flavours and options.

The restaurant's minimalist black and white colour scheme is predominant, while the surroundings are ornamented with paintings of France. — VNS Photo Hamy Nguyễn

Salmonoid has been popular for years, an ideal spot for dating, with its romantic candlelight, garden view dining tables, and old French villa. I first came here as a student, many moons ago. And I still find myself coming back.

This villa has a modest entrance, and passers-by will easily miss it, hidden down a narrow lane. It's an adorable entrance, with vines covering every wall. It gives a sense of mystery.

Salmon tapas looks great and is presented in a little, bite-sized form. — VNS Photo Hamy Nguyễn
Angus steak with gratin potatoes and pepper sauce. — VNS Photo Hamy Nguyễn

The restaurant has a minimalist black and white colour scheme, decorated with an array of paintings of France. 

The standard set, and the premium set Sunday brunch menu cost VNĐ520,000 and VNĐ640,000 per person, both with a beverage included.

You can order as many of the 16 different appetizers as you like, as well as one of the six main courses. In the premium package, you can choose from more high-end ingredients like Angus beef, Wagyu beef or Iberico pork.

Pan-fried salmon with mashed potatoes and teriyaki sauce. — VNS Photo Hamy Nguyễn

We chose one standard and one premium set. And of course, we prioritised salmon the dishes. We were eating at Salmonoid after all.

Although we sampled many dishes, there were a few that stood out.

To test the salmon's quality, we first sampled the sashimi. The salmon's freshness blended with the fish's cold, refreshing feel, and everything came together just beautifully. High-quality salmon should be firm in texture, with a somewhat fatty flavour that melts in the mouth. The restaurant got it just right, as you might expect from salmon specialists.

It was a gorgeous sunny day, making the pictures even more fantastic. — VNS Photo Hamy Nguyễn

As the signature fish was so delicious, we tried the salmon tapas. It looked great and was presented in bite-sized form, but I do wish it was bigger.

The triple-cooked fries with aioli sauce surprised me. It has been a while since a dish so seemingly unremarkable had me gasp in awe at the first bite. The potatoes were sliced into thick wedges so that the outside was crispy and the inside was soft and creamy. Everything complemented and combined well, all the flavours meshing perfectly together. These were superior fries.

After consuming masses of salmon, I went for the Angus steak with gratin potatoes and pepper sauce for the main dish, whereas my friend chose -- you guessed it -- pan-fried salmon with mashed potatoes and teriyaki sauce. While both dishes were great, I will give the beef a higher rating than the fish, possibly because I am not a fan of pan-fried salmon.

Vines covering every wall at Salmonoid's entrance give it a mysterious and "very Hanoi" atmosphere. — VNS Photo Hamy Nguyễn

The steak was more intriguing because every component of it left me feeling completely and utterly satisfied. The accompanying pepper sauce was ideal, the baked potatoes were smooth and creamy, and the meat was tender and juicy. I even requested a second cup because of the intense pepper flavour and umami sauce, which I could not resist.

To be clear, Sunday brunch at Salmonoid is a buffet, so one should not expect every dish to be outstanding. However, it is a memorable brunch venue thanks to the flavourful combinations, warm ambience, and first-rate service.  — VNS

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