Photo by Jesse Meadows

“Sorry, I’m eating lobster thermidor and drinking chardonnay,” is not a text message I ever thought I would send in response to a coffee invite, until I went to the wine brunch at Oven d’Or. This place understands Sundays on a level that I have not quite seen before. There’s a fondue station with not one, but two kinds of chocolate fountains, a crepe and waffle counter, an entire suckling pig laid out for carving, an a la carte grill, a sushi bar, and, of course, the help-yourself booze table.

 

There’s quite a selection in the beverage department; careful attention is paid to food pairings here, so there’s chardonnay for your fish and shiraz for your roast. The Tiger drafts are free-flowing, and DIY cocktails are on a rotational basis, situated next to an array of fresh juices like watermelon, peach and sugarcane, so guests can get creative. Not only is this brunch delicious, but it’s also interactive.

 

I never considered eating sushi for brunch before. But this place changed my entire thought process about the meal. With a chef exchange training programme in Japan that results in the most authentic rolls possible, the sushi bar is truly impressive. Sushi is not just about the fish, executive assistant manager Sashi Kumar tells me, but a delicate balance of Japanese vinegar and quality rice.

Photo by Jesse Meadows

Photo by Jesse Meadows 

Impressive

 

A red hot Singaporean chilli crab with intense flavour; a creamy, rich seafood pasta with shrimp, prawns and shellfish. Both dishes are cooked in front of you at the live cooking station, a feast for longing eyes, a banquet for a hungry stomach.

 

Close by, rainbows of row and sliced fish abound, but the masterpiece is a multi-layered sushi cake, featuring smoked eel, seaweed, Norwegian salmon and rice, topped with juicy orange salmon roe. Salty, tangy, savoury, smoky — there are so many flavours here that I almost felt like I didn’t need to eat anything else. After two, I almost had a third, but luckily, our photographer took my plate away and reminded me to pace myself, for we’d only just begun to feast.

 

After the sushi starter, you can move on to the meats. I’m not kidding when I say there is an entire suckling pig roast laid out on the buffet table, and a grill where you can choose your own meat cuts and watch the chef cook them up for you. Sashi says they intentionally placed this grandiose display front and centre, so it’s the first impression a guest gets when they walk in. “It’s [there] so people can see that we don’t hold back.”

Photo by Jesse Meadows

Photo by Jesse Meadows 

Richesse

 

We had the tender New Zealand lamb with a black pepper sauce, and pan-fried French foie gras served with a sweet apple sauce. The most interesting dish on the carving station, though, was the salmon Wellington, a play on the English beef classic that was leaner, but still retained a level of richness apt for this lavish brunch.

 

Course number three was lobster thermidor, with succulent pieces of lobster and mushrooms slathered in creamy goodness, stuffed into the shell and topped with an oven-baked cheese crust.

 

There was one more course we had to squeeze in; dessert. We played in the fondue fountain, covering strawberries and pineapples in hot flowing chocolate, and then created a colourful collection of sweets for our table. We also had to pay a visit to the waffle and crepe station, where a bright green pandan waffle was cooked fresh for us. I immediately slathered it in Nutella (obviously), and a scoop of German-imported hazelnut ice cream. At capacity, my stomach screamed no, but my mouth said yes.

 

Oven D’Or is at the Sheraton Hanoi Hotel, K5 Nghi Tam, 11 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Hanoi. The Sunday Brunch buffet costs VND1.35 million ++ and includes a free flow of wine, soft drinks, cocktails and beer. Children five to 11 go for half price and under-fives go for free. For more info click on sheratonhanoi.com

Photo by Jesse Meadows

Photo by Jesse Meadows

Jesse Meadows

Like many expats before her, staff writer Jesse Meadows stopped in Hanoi on a backpacking trip in early 2015 and just hasn’t managed to leave yet. A compulsive documentarian with a case of incessant curiosity, she loves buying one-way tickets, photographing dance parties and writing stories on the bus. 

Website: www.messyjeadows.tumblr.com

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