The Verticaleâs dishes are the result of a surprising French and Vietnamese fusion that goes across the conventional boundaries. Indeed, the subtle association of ingredients of high quality with various spices explains why the meals at Verticale are so stunning.
You can taste the delicacies in a villa built during the 1930s based on French and Indochina architecture. This villa has been the occasional working and residence place of a mandarin from Hue under Bao Dai, it has been restored but only at minimum to keep most of the aspects from that period.
There are five principal colours very representative of this architecture: green, yellow, black, white and orange. These five colours are also symbols of the five seasons: spring, summer, autumn, winter and the fifth one is called the âtransition seasonâ which lasts for 21 days.
In the restaurant, you can also see glimpses into Corlouâs life as well, through the framed white-and-black photographs depicting his and his Vietnamese wifeâs families through six generations.
There are three different cuisines in Vietnam. In the South, which enjoys a tropical climate, coconuts, lemongrass, chilli, pineapple and the beautiful fruit of the Mekong delta will be found. Southern cuisine is often sweet and sour, as for instance the famous tart fish soup.
In the central part of the country, it will often be spicy, with fish and shellfish. The North, with its four seasons, will offer a country-style cuisine, using vegetables and herbs and freshwater fish. All the three are connected by a common thread- nuoc mam. This cuisine has its own theories and ingredients, which make it quite different from Western or other Asian cuisines.
Vietnamese cuisine is also very much structured, and has its very own characteristics: short marinades, no butter, no cream nor spirits, no oil for salads. Very little salt is used, sometimes non at all. The herbs used for each dish are indented at the last moment, they are not cooked and thus retain all their flavors. Pepper is added at the last minute, cooking times are short and fast, and vegetables are served crisp.
The Art of Pho
"Pho is closely intermingled with Hanoi, with the true essence of the city, its streets. Pho can be had everywhere in the world. But there is really only one place to go to eat a pho soup, Hanoi. In Paris, New York, or even in Saigon, the magic of Ha Noiâs atmosphere will be wanting...