Dinner at Raw Bar

A while back Chef Duncan Ly has invited K and I to try out his Vietmodern menu and we finally made it a few weeks ago. As Vietnamese cuisine is one of my favorite cuisines (I especially love traditional homecooking Vietnamese dishes that K’s mom does wonders with) I was pretty excited to try out Duncan’s take on them!

RB - Welcome Drinks

Welcome Drinks

I’m happy that a non alcoholic version gets offered as well! My drink (on the left) was light, sweet and citrusy. I love the edible flower petals swirling in between the ice cubes as I enjoy the drink.

RB - Seafood Tamarind Soup

Seafood Tamarind Soup (Canh Chua) – $12
green onion, king oyster mushrooms, pineapple

I’ve been wanting to try this soup forever and wow… I just love the sourness to it. I might’ve also tasted a very mild spice kick to it too which was very welcoming. It’s such a great way to open up your appetite yet the chock full of fresh ingredients can make this a light meal to fill up on as well.

RB - Heritage Angus Beef Carpaccio

Heritage Angus Beef Carpaccio (Bo Tai Chanh) – $16
red onion, Thai basil, spicy peanuts, chilies, yuzu nuoc cham

This was not one of the dishes we ordered, but it was sent out with compliments of the kitchen. I had to let K eat most of it since I really shouldn’t be eating raw meat, but I did try a couple of slices and wow, the beef was just packed with flavors and the nuoc cham, or fish sauce, was light and sweet which complemented the entire dish without taking away flavors of the meat. I also love how the colorful edible flower petals immensely brightened up the entire dish!

RB - Beef Short Rib Steamed Buns (1)

RB - Beef Short Rib Steamed Buns (3)

RB - Beef Short Rib Steamed Buns (2)

Beef Short Rib Steamed Buns – $16
sautéed onions & peppers, sesame & chili aioli

Build your own steam buns with as much or as little ingredients you desire… the short rib is soft to the bite and just… wow. Tender, seasoned just right and cooked to the right doneness, this would definitely be a crowd pleaser. I was also afraid the aioli would be too spicy but I actually thought it was quite tame in terms of heat. Whew! Being the Asian I am though I prefer to eat this with rice instead of steamed buns ^^ There’s nothing wrong with the buns – they were steamed perfectly to a soft but not overdone state. I just love my rice too much!

RB - Soya & Star Anise Braised Pork Cheeks (2)

Soya & Star Anise Braised Pork Cheeks – $14
snap peas, shiitake mushrooms

After trying this, I may never need to eat pork belly again. The meat was so perfectly seasoned and tender that it just disintegrated upon contact on my tongue. Seriously, just… wow. The snap peas still had a nice crunch to it so it was cooked perfectly. I cannot remember what the orange puree was… might’ve been yam or squash (this is what happens when you wait too long to blog after a meal!) but it was ultra creamy and lightly sweet.

RB - Ginger Caramel Sablefish Clay Pot

Ginger Caramel Sablefish Clay Pot – $16
braised turnip, cilantro, glass noodles, serrano pepper

Sablefish has always been a favorite of mine. The buttery, meaty fish can be prepared in so many versatile ways that I swear it’s one fish you can’t screw up. When the pot lid was open, I noticed a very powerful scent of spices. I was like uh oh, is this dish really spicy? Yet it was anything but, and from that you can gather how flavorful the broth must be. The fish, as expected, was buttery smooth and the broth was pleasantly sweet. I love how everything in the pot soaked up the flavors of the broth and it was definitely a good choice to eat it with rice. The bread looking thing is a Chinese long donut. Not as greasy as the usual culprit, this was a bit dense and more bread like.

RB - Coconut Rice

Coconut Rice

Christina brought us a side of rice to enjoy with the above dish. It was perfectly cooked and smelled like a combination of coconut and lemongrass.

RB - Mango Pudding

Mango Panna Cotta with Vietnamese Love Letter Cookie

We were pretty full after all that food but still wanted to try desserts made by Karine Moulin! And as you know panna cotta has a soft spot in my heart, so I had to try this. I love the intense flavor of mango and the fresh fruits that atop it, but I thought the texture was closer to Chinese mango pudding rather than panna cotta. The love letter cookie is essentially a crispy biscuit roll dipped in chocolate on one side.

RB - Valrhona Chocolate Pate (1)

Valrhona Chocolate Pate

K decided to try something chocolatey and although this was quite dense, it actually wasn’t too heavy. I like that it was somewhat creamy but not overly sweet. The orange thing was a mandarin sorbet and it was quite refreshing!

RB - Valrhona Chocolate Pate (2)
Pretty candied leaf… looks like glass!

I forgot to taste this, but just had to snap a picture of it because it was so pretty and detailed!

This was an absolutely fantastic and superb meal. Every single dish was executed so well and full of flavor. My only complaint is that my stomach is not big enough as I had my heart set to try the Pad Thai, but there is always a next time! Service was top notch from beginning to end. I cannot wait for the restaurant to open for lunch when it’s warmer so I can have another choice for lunch. Thank you so much to Duncan and his staff for the great hospitality and delicious food! 🙂

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