A Ten-Course Vietnamese pop-up run by Thuy’s Viet Kitchen?
Only a fool would say no to that.
Thuy is like a ray of sunshine personified. Seriously, she has a wonderful smile, a welcoming way about her and better yet, can cook in a way that I can only dream of. Vietnamese food has always stumped me – I love it, yet you have to admit, there’s a bit of wizardry about it, as well as a stash of patience which I just don’t have; some of the dishes get cooked for hours. That’s why I eat what others make. Having spent time on her grandparents farm, even though she moved from Vietnam to London when she was seven, she took with her and still has the vivid memories of markets, fresh fruit and smells of street food that influence the food she makes today.
I first met Thuy at one of her underground supper clubs. They’re held in her home and everyone raves about them. In fact, it’s like a decadent food rave where you roll home after. It’s a natural transgression that Thuy and her talent should move from home to pop-up and never one for doing things by halves, she went from 12 sittings to 50. As someone who’s waitressed (albeit badly – I couldn’t stay away from leftovers), I know how tricky timing can be, yet Thuy pulled it off.
The evening was magical from start to finish. It was held at the Public House, a gorgeous corridor of a pub with bare wooden floors and a shabby chic finish – there were candles everywhere, vases of cherry blossom dotted around and best of all, rustic brown envelopes tied with string standing on mini painter’s canvasses. Each had our name on and inside was an introduction and a menu so we could track where we were in the evening.
The evening starts with a thick and creamy chicken and sweetcorn soup. The menu progresses to a mouth-melting scallop dish, pork and prawn spring rolls (my favourite), beef wrapped in betal leaves (also my favourite) and… well, I’m not going to spoil the rest of the evening – you’ll just have to imagine the food. Or go to the next one. Trust me when I say that you’ll love everything that’s served. And don’t get me started on the banana fritters.
As well as great food, special touches made all the difference. Not only did Thuy personally greet all her guests but each dish on the menu was described with personality and humour. Best of all, we each left home with a jar of Thuy’s Spicy Lemongrass Sauce (which has since rescued me from my old boring baked salmon), plus two samples of Saigon Coffee’s contempory and traditional coffee (don’t even think of serving this up with anything other than condensed milk).
I’m going to ask the question that’s on your lips – when’s the next one? I don’t have the answer to that, but I will, like you, be watching Thuy’s Viet Kitchen Facebook page with bated breath for more information.
For anyone that’s not had the pleasure yet of an evening surrounded by Vietnamese food, sort that out. The food is fresh, fragrant, light and is supposed to feature a combination of five fundamental taste elements. Using ingredients such as fish sauce, shrimp paste, soy sauce, herbs, lemongrass, ginger, mint, chilli, lime, basil and more, little oil is used and there’s a balance of meat and vegetables that makes it one of the more healthy cuisines.