New winds are blowing in the restaurant scene in Saigon.
An adventurous Belgian Chef, NicVanderbeeken has opened this week the first Bistronomie in Asia.
Bistronomie is the union of the French words bistrotand gastronomie and it’s a concept developed in France in the nineties by a group of starred Chefs. It meanstop quality food and top presentation served in comfortable ambience at an affordable price.
In recent years two Belgian hospitality industry experts, Steve Engels and Johannes Denis created a guide called ‘Bistronomie’ where all the finest bistros in Belgium, offering a high standard of food at a reasonable price are listed.
Nic shared: “The concept was a success also in my own restaurant in Belgium: it allowed customers to eat out more often rather than just going out for a special occasion.”
Nic had a successful career in Belgium: having worked in Michelin star restaurants he had learned a lot and his own restaurant was a true hit. “I could be creative as when I was working with molecular gastronomie but in my place it was just more about the food: great products, beautiful presentation but no other fuss around it, so no sumptuously decorated rooms or silver cutlery”, he said.“It was real andpeople loved it because of thelaidback yet refined feel.”
This year together with his girlfriend Ilona, responsible for the marketing and communication part of Bistronomie, he decided to come to Asia:“I always wanted to go abroad but for one reason or another I couldn’t. Finally it was a possibility for us and we grabbed it.”
Nic and Ilona want to get the people out of their homes, change the routine of ordering take away food and they want to propose a valid alternative to that. Bistronomie is located in District 2 on the first floor of Café Evita in ThaoDien, in a cozy and welcoming ambience. Ilona said: “We don’t offer take away because we don’t believe in it. We want people to come here and experience the spirit of Bistronomie but I think it will be challenging to change people’s habits.”
“Yes, Bistronomie is about relaxed conviviality”, Nic urged; “That’s why I want to have an open kitchen, so I can see my guests, I can stop by, exchange a few words, engage them in the whole way of thinking that Bistronomie stands for in its originality and high quality.The essence of this place can be summed up like this, fine-dining on your plate, a home feeling around you”.
To keep the prices low, Nic is not using the quintessential luxury products, such as truffle, caviar or lobster and some of his ingredients are utilised for the preparation of more than one dish, in different styles.
“If, as a Chef you aim at a star, you cannot open a Bistronomie, they just are two different concepts”, he said. “You need to want this. I am extremely motivated and I believe in it”, he smiled, “I’m sure people will start talking about Bistronomie and they will come to us”.
Bistronomie is a registered brand, but Nic has some fears concerning the protection of the name in Asia: the name could be stolen and the standards would not match what is required to be able to carry the symbol of ‘Bistronomie’.
Having tried the food though it must be said that the name might be easy to copy, but it would be hard to match the quality and the magic touch that only a capable, experienced chef like Nic can deliver. Any non-authorised copy would be like a nicely wrapped gift box with nothing inside.
Also coming up at Cafe’ Evita:
Chef NicVanderbeeken will also soon offer you the opportunity to have your own ‘Chef at home’. You will be able to invite your friends and family in the privacy of your own house and have him enchanting you with his exclusive and at times surprising dishes!
Furthermore Bistronomie is getting ready for some thrilling cooking classes for groups called CSI, Culinary Scene Investigation.
To find out more about it, please refer to the Facebook page:
Location: first floor of Café Evita, 230 Nguyen Van Huong, D2, Saigon
Phone: 028 35 12 38 88
To find out more about Bistronomie, some interesting links:
http://bistronomie.be/ (in Dutch and French)