There is a joke that the social distancing turned everyone into a Master Chef. It’s partly right because you have to cook for yourself instead of enjoying food outside. Ngô Minh recommends some restaurants that can inspire you at home, Italian style.
The positive side of social distancing was that you might try something you haven’t tried before, and cooking is a good example. I know someone who spent days staying at home to try to learn baking. Even if you fail many times, every experience is precious. Sometimes the process of learning, experiencing and discovering your talent is far more interesting than enjoying the result itself.
The shops below deliver ready-to-eat food to your home and half-done materials if you want to experiment.
A pack of cheesy and beefy lasagna at Little Italy can feed four people. Photo courtesy of the shop
Tel: 094 932 46 89
Add: 37 Trích Sài St, Tây Hồ District, Hà Nội
Little Italy brings sustainable living and great food together. The restaurant by the West Lake has a nice breeze but regretfully I have not been there for a long time due to the pandemic.
The restaurant offers a variety of artisanal classic and modern Italian pasta, pizza and other delicacies.
There are dozens of Italian restaurants downtown but this one’s highlight is the lasagna. It’s totally different from other restaurants I have been to. There are pork, beef and vegetarian options and even a half pork, half beef option. I don’t remember how many layers it has but the dish is thick, cheesy and filling. It is 1.2kg in weight and can easily serve three to four people.
The tender sheets of pasta are freshly made every day. The meaty tomato sauce between the layers is just perfect.
When it’s delivered to my home, it’s still hot. The cheesy surface is brown and bubbling. It’s so charming, it is almost hard to devour it.
Charcoal-grilled pizza at Pizza Belga is worth a try. Photo courtesy of the shop
Add: 225 Âu Cơ St, Tây Hồ District and 47 Hàng Bè St, Hoàn Kiếm.
Both locations are convenient, so please save it for restaurant re-opening day. Now, you can have an authentic Neapolitan pizzeria at home.
Pizza Belga brings you authentic Neapolitan wood-fired pizza and homemade desserts with Belgian chocolate, all accompanied by a large selection of craft beers.
Besides the hot regular menu, you can choose to order frozen items to bake anytime at home.
To make the crust, the bakers here prepare dough and ferment it for 48 hours. The temperature and moisture are carefully controlled.
The pizzas are grilled in charcoal at 450-500 degrees Celsius, which makes a real difference. If you can’t decide which toppings to put on your pizza, choose a Capricciosa, because by definition this pizza was made to pleasure sudden caprices.
Sourdough focaccia is a slab of naturally leavened dough topped with simple ingredients, any vegetable in season, olive oil and salt. Photo courtesy of the shop
Tel: 0975375777 – 0362561568
Add: 3A/1 Nhân Hòa, Nhân Chính, Thanh Xuân Dist
Baking sourdough bread is a challenge during the social distancing. The recipe sounds complicated but once making it successfully, you will feel like an artisan. In case you can’t, ordering bread from La Saveur can revive your inspiration.
There is a saying “You are what you eat”, and sourdough bread is a good choice for a healthy body. Sourdough is slow-fermented bread made from semolina, whole wheat flour and oats. Bakers do not use commercial yeast to make it rise. Instead, it’s made with a live fermented culture, a sourdough starter, which acts as a natural leavening agent. So it’s good for health naturally.
A perfect sourdough has a tangy flavour (not too sour), chewy texture and a crisp crust.
At La Saveur, there are many kinds of sourdough bread to try. Tartine sourdough is made from whole wheat flour with the characteristic mild sour taste greatly reduced. Rustic Rye Sourdough is rich in the fibre of whole rye flour and whole grains, with a mild sour taste. Honey Oatmeal Sourdough Sandwich is scented and sweet with honey, oats and chia seeds.
A favourite of children is Chocolate Walnut Sourdough. It captivates people with the perfect combination of three flavours: mild sour, lightly sweet and slightly bitter from natural yeast, raisins and chocolate.
Focaccia (foe-kah-cha) Sourdough is rich and fragrant thanks to the combination of olives, minced garlic, fresh tomatoes and aromatic leaves.
Purple Sweet Potato Sourdough is made with semolina powder and, naturally, has the characteristic colour of purple sweet potatoes.
Focaccia wins my heart at the first sight as it’s colourful, eye-catching and harmonious like a painting. I love the chunky crystals with unexpected pops of flavour.
Cutting it into slices, I enjoy Focaccia with balsamic dressing, bacon and rocket leaves on top.
Sourdough is more than something that’s a passing trend. It’s actually a technique of the past from when industrial yeast had not been developed. Now when people think about healthy lifestyles, they hark back to slow, crafted cooking. VNS