Chef Quỳnh Brown reimagines classic Vietnamese flavours with gumption and panache at contemporary Vietnamese restaurant, Lộ Quậy.
If you have any preconceived ideas about Vietnamese cuisine, chances are Chef Quỳnh Brown is going to upend them over at newly-opened modern Vietnamese restaurant Lộ Quậy.
The 38-year old head chef – who dropped into Singapore’s ultra-competitive dining scene by way of California at Nobu and ZUMA in the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong – brings a progressive and elevated touch to the flavours of her native Saigon, and will certainly show you that Vietnamese food is so much more than pho and banh mi.
And even when she does bring out her versions of those iconic Vietnamese street eats? They won’t be anything you’d recognise.
Lộ Quậy takes over the space along Amoy Street that used to be modern Italian-American restaurant California Republic. Its new vibes are more cosy and intimate, the AI-generated paintings of Vietnamese imagery on the walls – including reimaginations of Chef Quỳnh and her grandfather, who is her inspiration behind her culinary career – are visual metaphors of what is to come on your plate.
Lộ Quậy roughly translates as discover in Vietnamese. And discover you will. The progressive restaurant offers a prix fixe dinner menu, but the best way to do it is via its ‘Discover’ tasting menu, a total gastronomic showcase of Chef Quỳnh’s approach.
You start with an entire plethora of snacks, each of which tantalise the palate even as they encourage you to identify those familiar flavours. The burst of tangy sourness from soursop with your tomato, for example, or the shrimp cracker that cradles hand-chopped waygu tartare, a hat tip to Vietnam’s French colonial influence. The sweetness of pomegranate balanced with piquant passionfruit on thinly-sliced amberjack, too.
There’s plenty of artistry in her dishes, both in presentation and in the combination of flavours. A French blue shrimp arrives, a lovely sashimi-grade specimen that’s been first coated in sticky rice and then deep-fried; its sweet juicy flesh is enhanced by the bite of house-made XO sauce and a chimichurri rendered with herbs we associate with Vietnamese cookery.
And the pho and banh mi I was talking about earlier? Chef Quỳnh’s banh mi comes in the form of a bite-sized wellington, a puff stuffed with grilled iberico pork jowl, pork crackling, and creamy pork liver pate. A demi-glace of Maggi “magic” seasoning is a cheeky, and totally appropriate, touch. The pho comes as a little bowl of broth, sans noodles, but flourished with small morsels of wagyu brisket, crispy honeycomb tripe, and garnished with a beef tendon cracker. It’s packed with incredible flavour.
One of the mains, the roasted duck breast, comes flaming table-side as it is set alight with whiskey. The bird is so flavourful you don’t need the accompanying dark chocolate hoisin sauce.
Be sure to opt for the beverage pairing with your discovery tasting menu. For an addendum, you get various Old World wines, a sake, and even a cheeky beer, to pair with your courses.
Singapore has, in recent time, seen a flood of progressive chefs of Asian heritage reimagining and reshaping impressions of their native cuisines. Vietnam now has its own champion here with Chef Quỳnh Brown.
Address 88 Amoy St, Singapore 069907 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 12pm to 2.30pm and 6pm to 11pm Mondays to Fridays; 6pm to 11pm on Saturdays; closed on Sundays
Tel (65) 3129 7556
Reservations book here
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