Da Nang is often overshadowed by the nearby charming UNESCO heritage town Hoi An. Even though the ancient town is picture-perfect, we highly advise you to explore the fifth-largest Vietnamese city. If you are like us you’ll love the gourmet side of this coastal city. Ok, there are a few must-taste dishes, but now we want to speak of one true gem you don’t want to miss. As it happened, we combined a delightful dinner at Nén Restaurant with a 4 km stroll alongside the Hàn River. Certainly, a short walk put us in just the right mood for Contemporary Vietnamese Cuisine served at Nen Restaurant. Please, continue reading our Nén Restaurant Review and see by yourself what is so special at this avant-garde restaurant.
- About Nén Restaurant
- Nén Restaurant Ambiance
- Nén Drinks
- Nén Restaurant Food
- Refined Vietnamese Menu
- New Vietnamese Tasting Menu
- Nén Restaurant Review Card
- Final Thought
- Price and Location
About Nén Restaurant
Beautifully presented food at Nen Restaurant is a tasty example of creative Vietnamese cuisine. Contemporary dining at Nén Restaurant Danang is a tribute to pushing the boundaries of tradition. While doing so Chef Summer Le isn’t compromising the renowned taste balance. After all, top quality is guaranteed by fresh local ingredients and unique combinations. In addition to that, the low carbon footprint is the praiseworthy focus of the creative Chef Summer Le. In fact, they are proud of their veggie patch that is responsible for indoor use.
Nén Restaurant Ambiance
Finding a restaurant was easy, thanks to the signs and navigation. Once inside, we quickly relaxed with the help of playful piano music. Could it be that this instrument had a say in the restaurant décor design? The dark exterior of a piano with black and white keys. Maybe. Our imagination says that the minimalistic touch meets the colorful middle like a melody. Most of all we loved the greenery around and inside the restaurant. So, no matter which way you’ll be facing you’ll be able to connect with the natural world and cherish its gifts. Except for one detail, that fake grass carpet truly is a design killer.
Every degustation menu can be finely tuned with wine pairing if you wish. In case you want just a glass or two you can go through the Nen restaurant wine list. There you’ll certainly find a label you’ll want to finish, although if you want just a glass, then your choice is reduced.
It goes without saying that you’ll find something to suit your taste in the list of cocktails or craft beer. However, some items aren’t on the menu, like house-made liqueurs. You might get them as palette cleansers. We loved how ambarella aperitif stimulated our taste buds and prepared our tummies for the feast ahead.
Nén Restaurant Food
No matter what Nen tasting menu will you choose, you’ll get a taste of creativity. We decided to try the New Vietnamese tasting menu and Refined Vietnamese tasting menu. We must confess that going through the vegan dishes on the Green Vietnamese menu almost made us change our minds. Of course, we forgot about our dilemma the moment amuse-bouche touched our table. Compliments from the kitchen kept coming also when the menu progressed in a form of mouth-watering pallet cleansers.
Refined Vietnamese Menu
For the start of our Nén Restaurant Review, we will get into the refined Vietnamese menu. Exquisite dishes on the menu are developed around Central Vietnamese cuisine. The main focus comes down to the original taste, but ingredients are cleverly bent with techniques.
Part 1: Celebration
Vietnamese Beef Stew with Toast
Fragrant soup, known for its slow cooking time and French influences were everything we were hoping for. We loved the intense color formed with merging juices of red wine, tomatoes, carrots, and beef. As if that wasn’t enough the numerous spices were drawing attention with complex fragrances. Following tradition, we enjoyed every bite with a slice of fresh bread.
Grilled Pork in Lace Rice
Lovely lace wraps made of thin glass rice noodles were the perfect base for grilled pork. Besides letting the gentle pork shine through it kept the house-made fish sauce in place. In every bite we enjoyed the textures ranging from soft to crisp, the latter was due to the fried garlic and peanuts.
Part 2: Chef Le’s Favourites
The impeccable balance between tender steamed squid and mango mousse was spot on. So much so that it left enough space for gingery fish sauce and fresh holy basil with a mint leaf. We loved the creaminess of every bite felt and how well all the flavors were complementing each other.
Spicy lemongrass beef noodle soup – Bun Bo
If you have someone who doesn’t like to eat soups, and you would like to change him, simply send him to Vietnam for about three months. After that experience, one is reborn in a soup way. Here at Nén Restaurant, we got Bun Bo, which actually translates into noodles. But there is much more… Such an aromatic soup is irresistible with the scent of lemongrass and numerous savory notes. No wonder it is the most popular noodle soup in Central Vietnam. We were particularly excited over the delicious meatballs made from actual meat. Usually, we avoid foamy balls simply because of the fear of what is in them. Not here, at Nen Restaurant we loved every part of Bun Bo and enjoyed adding house-made fish and chili sauce to it.
Part 3: Family
Typical dishes, meant to be shared between the family members. One staple is Com Ga or grilled chicken with rice, a traditional must-have, delicious to its core. Indeed, at Nén, we got a more vibrant and elevated example of the old classic. The second dish was about the meatballs, each different and seasoned to perfection. We don’t have a favorite but the one filled with pandan truly surprised us. To say nothing of vegetables would be wrong because they deserve a fair mention. Basically, because the crisp texture of stir-fried morning glory was a joy to eat along with generous garlic flavoring.
Part 4: Dessert
Black Sesame Ice Cream
Every story should have a sweet end, so it does our Nén Restaurant Review. Steamed cassava root provided a filling starchy texture and subtle flavor that went well with black sesame ice cream. Even so, we preferred to dip it in the coconut sauce and enjoy ice cream on its own. And what a mouth-watering ice cream that was! A real treat for anyone with a sweet tooth and a fan of black sesame, we tell you.
New Vietnamese Tasting Menu
Playing by the rules of local cuisine at Nén Restaurant ends in Contemporary Vietnamese cuisine. The new Vietnamese tasting menu is a totally different joy. Expect combinations that work as a new whole. A focus is a flavor, which is supported with modern techniques and a mind free from prejudice.
Part 1: Get Ready
Vietnamese Field Crab Bisque
Creamy soup featuring the freshwater crab was all about the tiny creature living on the rice paddies. Sweet aroma continued to develop with every mouthful firstly exposing crabs, but also pumpkin and tomato presence. Not to mention, there is also the most succulent, sweet-tasting shrimp one can imagine.
Dry-aged Duck Salad
The zesty scent of kumquat sauce hit us with excitement, we couldn’t wait to try the meaty salad. 75-days of aging left duck soft and rich tasting, perfect for bitter melon and cilantro. Best of all was to combine everything in one bite, including fresh pineapple and watermelon. Together it become enviable harmony neither of us wanted to miss. Thankfully it left us with a long-lasting aftertaste that could be described as a tropical bouquet of intoxicating besties.
Part 2: Explore
Deep-fried quail and wild “Doi” seeds
Never mind moist quail, the Doispice made us forget everything. Well, not really, but it is hard to miss and gladly so. Doi spice is unique and can fit basically in everything. This fruit comes from a tall tree, native to the North-Western part of Vietnam.
Then there was also annatto oil powder, another mystery to us. So, we can’t be sure from which direction came what. Even greens were acting unexpectedly. Only corn puree and mushrooms were familiar and even they were different. Wonderfully different, a true exploration. Ouuu, if you wonder, annatto is an orange-red food coloring or condiment made from the seeds of the achiote tree.
We didn’t expect that anchovy goes so well with pineapple, meat, and flowers. Rice rolls and radish greens were an easy bet. Even though anchovy sauce was everywhere it didn’t overpower anything. It deepened the flavor of the very tender beef tongue and complimented pineapple’s crisp core as well.
Part 3: Danang Beach
Soft-shelled Crab with Sauce and Foam
Deep-fried locally caught crabs were juicy and brittle. The crispy element on the plate wasn’t just tempura but also morning glory stems. A great contrast to everything was apple foam, so beautiful and sweet. Much sweeter than the tamarind sauce. All together worked great and the crab shinned through all that acidic sweet punch.
Fish, Gac, and Sticky Rice
Oak smoke-infused fish and the sticky pandan rice are just enough to build a link. Not that pandan is an outsider, but a rather gentle fit to Gac. It is a bigger art to keep pandan present, and Chef succeeded. In contrast to the gentler pandan flavor, the Gac tasted something like a mixture of dry tomato, peppers, and much more.
Part 4: Dessert
Pudding, Ice cream, and Syrup
Intense ginger ice cream got fitting comfort in the silky tofu pudding. A touch of ginger syrup left us coming for more and we loved to combine it with a nutty bed once ice cream melted a bit.
Nén Restaurant Review Card
- ATMOSPHERE – 8.1/108.1/10
- SERVICE – 9.5/109.5/10
- PRESENTATION – 9.3/109.3/10
- FOOD – 9.6/109.6/10
- DRINKS – 9.3/109.3/10
- VALUE – 9.7/109.7/10
One day Michelin stars will be awarded here in Vietnam, and I can guarantee Nén Restaurant will be there on the list. When a chef understands and respects the culinary legacy, and is bold to try new things at the same time, is usually a recipe for great success. Here at Nén Restaurant, one will get amazing flavors, recreating with ordinary and not so ordinary ingredients.
Our experience here at Nén Restaurant was unforgettable and this is one of the highest rewards one can get at the restaurant. After all, we are explorers and we are looking for something new and old at the same time. If you add to this good service, pleasant ambiance, and fresh ingredients you get a triumph. By the way, Nén can be translated as compress or concentrate, and that explains almost everything. I hope you enjoyed our Nén Restaurant Review, see you next time with a new finding.
Price and Location
The tasting menu will cost about 40 USD and if would like to pair a wine with it it comes with a tag of 80 USD. Here is a link to the location for easier navigation.