08 Dec Seeking a new standard at VGastro.bar

Written by Matt Roebuck Published in Art & Culture Read 3464 times
Artfully presented delicacies. Photo: Matt Roebuck Artfully presented delicacies. Photo: Matt Roebuck

It can depend where you hail from but “gastro” is usually tagged to describe a venue that serves high quality ingredients put together with creative flair in a relaxed setting.

So does VGastro.bar live up to its unusually styled name? The good news is it largely does and after only its first week in business at the Golden Valley site off Dhammazedi Road previously occupied by “The Standard”, indications are it will last longer than its predecessor.

If you’re looking to make a night of it, upstairs at VGastro.bar you’ll find a dance floor, a bar, some booths and a spacious balcony. If you’re really looking to throw some cash around there’s a private “champagne room” screening “Fashion TV” without sound: it’s the favourite viewing material of every pretentious “gastro” bar back home, wherever that may be.

Downstairs, a temperature controlled walk-in wine room adjoins a stylish restaurant in black and white. Dining late on the bar’s second night, we were alone on the ground floor by the end of the meal but the space did not feel cavernous or devoid of atmosphere. The music was unobtrusive.

The menu presents dishes “to share”, starting at K4,000 for a plate of wedges. Elsewhere on the menu, most of the dishes listed under “Meat, Poultry and Fish” cost between K10,000 and K15,000.

Fellow diners recommended the “Ham and potato croquettes” (K,5000) and the fluffy, buttery mash, oozing with a cheese centre wrapped in golden breadcrumbs did not disappoint, except there were only three.

The “Smoked salmon bruschetta” (K7,000) was delicious; fresh, light and accompanied by cream cheese and a caviar or roe. It was also a serving of three.

Not all dishes are served par trois. Diners on a nearby table enjoyed half a dozen “BBQ spare-ribs” (K7,000) but were disappointed by the six “Buffalo wings” (K5,000) they sampled, which they said had a lack of kick.

The “Crispy dried beef” (K7,000), with a Nanjing sauce gave the menu a more local flavour and was enjoyable but little different to the same food in a Kachin restaurant for a fraction of the price.

The star of the evening was the “Black sticky rice and crab risotto” (K4,000), which for some reason is listed under “Meat, Poultry and Fish” and is the cheapest dish on the menu. Served in a martini glass, with a side of baguette slices, the risotto was a perfect consistency, held together by a creamy sauce and delivering a subtle crab flavour.

The drinks menu includes draught beer served in a pint glass (K4,000) and classic cocktails, such as “Long Island iced tea” (K6,000). VGastro.bar also lists “signature” mixes, including the “Mad scientist”. A blend of golden rum, blue curacao and served with fresh lychees, it delivered enough of a punch to justify its name.

This Article first appeared in the December 4, 2014 edition of Mizzima Business Weekly.

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