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In a pristine setting on the banks of the Red River, The Clover at Ngoc Thuy is an innovative French fine-dining gourmet restaurant with a wine list to rival some of the best restaurants in Paris.

 

Situated in a grand colonial-style villa on the outskirts of the city, it offers dinner with a view — and with fresh air. The property was originally the residence of the owner, Nguyen My Giang Huong — also co-owner of the prestigious French eatery, Green Tangerine, in the Old Quarter — before being converted.

 

Rose in a Thorn Bush

 

The Clover is more than just a restaurant. Every room in the building serves a purpose, and the staff specialise in a number of fields.

 

Downstairs is the main dining area with a piano and a fireplace, which opens into a kitchen and bar area that also hosts master classes with regional and international chefs.

 

Outside, the secluded garden dining area is lit by fairy lights in the evening, to a backdrop of birds chirping and barges sailing down the Red River.

 

On the roof is the sky bar, with an uninterrupted view of Long Bien Bridge, and a menu of inventive craft cocktails.

 

Rooms can be hired out for weddings, corporate events and parties, which can be tailored to meet the needs of guests. There are also wine-tasting rooms where premium wines can be tried under the direction of sommeliers.

 

The wine list boasts over 400 international wines, around 80 percent of which are French. If you’re already feeling as overwhelmed by choice as we were, then fear not. They also have three sommeliers on duty to assist with food and wine pairing.

 

Innovative French Dining

 

The food menu is dominated by the traditions of French fine dining, but French executive chef Denwers Rattan — who earnt his stripes working in top restaurants in Paris and Tokyo — has added a subtle hint of Vietnamese influence to each dish, notably through the use of local herbs.

 

We sampled the cuisine on the set lunch menu, which includes a choice of several of the restaurant’s most popular dishes.

 

First we tried the sea scallops, which were finely chopped and served on a plate in a bed of lime juice, and raspberry jelly. The scallops melted on the tongue, and the accompanying flavours complemented each other in harmony.

 

Alongside this we tried pan-seared duck foie gras. This is foie gras like you’ve never had it before; served on a plate decorated with squid ink, and partnered with smoked eel emulsion and crispy potatoes.

 

 

Next we had pigeon, both pan-fried and grilled, with vanilla mashed pumpkin and seasonable vegetables, served with a bitter cacao sauce and vinegar. Once again, the balance of flavours was spot on, and we were left craving for more.

 

That is until the Noirmoutier turbot filet arrived. This French white fish is certified label rouge, meaning it’s the finest-quality serving. It was served with pumpkin and passionfruit puree, clam emulsion and asparagus. An attention-grabbing combination that was neither too sweet nor too savoury.

 

Lastly we had the mother of all desserts, pear poached in white wine and mango confit, alongside crumble and red fruits with blueberry. Imagine every one of your favourite desserts on one plate, working in unison with each other to create something that makes mum’s apple pie seem substandard.

 

The Clover offers top-end French dining in a way that Hanoi has only glimpsed in the halls of five-star hotels, and it offers it in a refreshing setting, with a top-class view.

 

The set lunch at The Clover costs from VND800,000 to VND2.4 million per person. The business lunch is VND550,000 for two courses or VND800,000 for three courses and the menu is updated fortnightly.

 

The Clover at Ngoc Thuy is located at Number 14, Lane 53, Ngoc Thuy, Long Bien, Hanoi. The restaurant's opening hours are 11.30am to 11pm, Monday to Sunday


 

PHOTOS BY MARCUS LACEY

 

Billy Gray

Billy arrived in Hanoi in November 2015 with the intention of staying for just six months. He didn’t expect that flights to leave would be so expensive, so decided instead to stay and write for the Word.

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