The arrival of Viet: Nom, which has a respectful approach to Vietnamese fare, is cause for celebration. Leaving no stone unturned to provide the discerning diner with an authentic culinary experience, restaurateur Manish Sharma sent acclaimed chef Vaibhav Bhargava and food critic Rupali Dean on a research training programme to Vietnam: from Hanoi all the way to Ho Chi Minh City where they allied with a local guide for firsthand experience of indigenous delicacies and markets, streetfood and fine dining. Their efforts resulted in a specialty restaurant at DLF Cyber Hub, where the attention to detail translates into true flavors.
Walking in this afternoon, I observed that the subtle melding of Vietnamese flavors and modern Indian sensibilities was rightly drawing diners. It was packed and yet comfortable because of the curated space and minimalist interiors! But before I pen the review, I must mention that when I first heard Chef Vaibhav Bhargava was spearheading the team, I knew it would be a lucky throw of the dice for Viet: Nom. When you've eaten the variety of food I have had the good fortune to… you get acquainted with the skill set of a chef. In Chef's case it's his ability to prepare delicacies defined by a confluence of individuality, regional heritage and craftsmanship.
Having heard so much about their flavourful dishes from friends and colleagues, I was delighted I was reviewing this new restaurant. Seating me at a reserved table, the management made me feel welcome and comfortable, and I feel it's these small significant gestures that make a meal an experience. Skipping to the review, instead of describing each dish I'll mention highlights. First up was 'Summer Roll'. The chef had tossed vermicelli noodles with seasonal vegetables and vietnamese herbs, and packed it into translucent rice paper rolls; dabbing it with peanut poison chilli, I popped the bite-sized roll into my mouth, and the explosion of fresh flavours took me by surprise. Trust me, I don't ask for seconds and here I was salivating for more! Up next, I relished 'Chicken Chilli Dimsums'; the spiced dimsums, with ginger sauce, was light on the palate and deelish. And then Chef brought out the star — 'Crispy Tofu'. The tofu cubes, tossed in brown garlic and fresh chili, topped with crisp garlic, was melt- in- the- mouth delicious. I loved its artistic presentation but what stood out most was the flavour and texture. And, that's when I perceived why each dish is so sumptuous… Chef stresses on using the finest, fresh meat, vegetables and herbs flown in from across the world and details it with texture. Chef is happy to see I'm relishing the tofu. "I aspire to serve nutritious flavourful dishes. For example, one wouldn't ordinarily order Tofu but here we have textured and garmished it to make it so flavourful that you'd want it!" Lastly, I was served one of their hot-sellers: 'Char- Grilled Pork Ribs' flavoured with spices and sesame. The presentation was Instagram-worthy and I whipped out my phone to capture the moment before relishing each bite!
What can I say? I was blissfully content, declined dessert and ordered a gin- based cocktail. Somehow, I wasn't willing to end the meal. When the cocktail was served, I sat back in astonishment. The mixologist had whipped up a potent cocktail with gin, orange and rosemary, and garnished it with fresh fruit and an orange peel with my name on it. ''We travelled to Vietnam to learn everything about its traditional cuisine and culture, and then we travelled to Kiev to learn how the successful Vietnamese restaurants were serving a modern interpretation to appeal to the global palate. That is what we wanted to imbibe'', explained Chef as I sipped the cocktail ''We stringently use high quality, fresh ingredients.''
Reminiscing back to the luncheon peppered with insightful conversation and camaraderie, if you like Vietnamese cuisine, you should go! There is much to appreciate at Viet: Nom. The management is warm, welcoming and proficient; the chef is happy to meet diners and make thoughtful suggestions; the dishes are insanely sumptuous. I don't say this for all the fine restaurants I've reviewed but this one is poised to be the next go-to restaurant and hip bar for foodies who appreciate the logistics involved in importing fresh meat, herbs from Vietnam, Bangkok and Scotland! What's more, the personalised service and the painstakingly crafted cuisine and cocktails… the welcoming vibe and the sleek interiors will lure you back! I know I won't wait for a special occasion to return. Cheers Manish Sharma, Chef Vaibhav and Rupali Dean!!
— JASMEEN DUGAL
VIET:NOM Cyber Hub, Gurgaon