Dining By The Rocks is one of the signature restaurants at Six Senses Ninh Van Bay.
It’s a beautiful and romantic setting, overlooking the bay, and we were lucky enough to dine there whilst staying at the resort.
Our visit coincided with that of Paul Merrett and Anton Manganaro, who were at Six Senses Ninh Van Bay as guest chefs from the UK, and alongside the resident chefs they created a vegan menu just for us!
As the night time stars began to shine, we chatted to other dinner guests, sipped cocktails and devoured ‘Confit Aubergine and Shitake Mushroom Wontons with Green Mango and Black Vinegar Dipping Sauce’.
The wontons were crispy on the outside with a rich tasty filling on the inside; you won’t be surprised to hear that these little vegan canapés disappeared astonishingly quickly because they were so good.
Our first course was a ‘Broccoli Ginger Beer Tempura with a Cucumber Pickle’ and just enough wasabi to wake up our taste buds. The lightest of tempura batters covered a tender stem of the freshest broccoli, the cucumber pickle added a nice fresh and lightly tart taste with the wasabi adding the kind of kick that only wasabi can.
Next we were presented with ‘Spiced Saffron Arancini with Chargrilled Asparagus, Smoked Tomato and Rocket Oil’ and after the obligatory marvelling at the beautiful presentation, we got down to eating.
A light crispy coating on the outside of the gorgeous rice filling, the lightly smoked juicy tomatoes which had an intense tomato flavour and the subtle peppery rocket oil made every mouthful a pleasure.
And then, as if the vegan food gods were smiling down at us, our next course was a vegan burger.
Created as a result of an earlier conversation with the chefs, whilst talking about our love of a good vegan burger (and our exceptionally high standards and expectations for what qualifies as ‘good’ in the world of vegan burgers); this particular creation was something else.
It’s menu description ‘Pumpkin, Lentil and Chickpea Bhaji Burger, with Beetroot and Rose Petal Harrisa and Fermented Tofu’ should arouse some interest (doesn’t sound like a normal vegan burger does it?).
Firstly, we’d never had a burger that had been styled on a bhaji before but can report back that this joining of ingredients in a crispy spiced fritter was a great choice. Why, considering the huge number of vegan burgers we’ve eaten, have we never seen something like this before?
Secondly, for those who have never experienced the pleasures of fermented tofu, this South East Asian condiment often added to soups, hotpots or congee, has a taste that’s remarkably like a sharp, salty, intense blue cheese.
Add these two elements together, with a little of the beetroot garnish, a touch of fresh salad and a light bread roll and you have one of the most creative, inspired and delicious vegan burgers ever to be eaten.
The only thing we hate about being served these kind of things is that as they are ‘one off creations’, we’ll never get to eat it again. Luckily there were some pretty awesome chips served with our burger to cheer us up.
Before dessert we had a kind of chocolate lollypop of fruity sorbet encased in rich dark chocolate.
The tropical heat got the better of us though and we had to eat it before it could be photographed, but you can imagine how good this was. We think it might have had some kind of freeze dried berry in the chocolate (we have memories of a fruity, crunchy zingy sensation) so imagine rich dark chocolate, zingy fruity flavours and then a cold refreshing sorbet in the middle. Even the memory tastes good.
For dessert we ate ‘Coconut and Barley Rice Pudding with Pineapple Carpachio Marinated in Citrus Syrup, Mango Sorbet and Passion Fruit Compote’.
We loved the mixture of such a traditional British dessert with South East Asian ingredients. The fresh fruit in this part of the world is delicious and using it to create a lovely vegan dessert was a great choice.
We were truly spoiled with all the fruity flavours going on in this dish, add the rich coconut milk creaminess of the barley rice pudding and you’re officially in vegan dessert heaven.
‘Dining By The Rocks’ is located in Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, but you must be staying in the resort to book a table (go on treat yourself).
The service during dinner was just as excellent as the rest of the service we experienced during our stay at Six Senses Ninh Van Bay. The two visiting chefs came out and spoke to all the guests between courses which really added to everyone’s enjoyment of the food we were eating.
We loved Paul and Anton’s passion for food and even though they aren’t vegan Chefs, we found we had much in common in terms of shared beliefs about using good quality ingredients and aiming for more sustainable living in our world today.
We thought the menu they designed used the local ingredients at hand brilliantly, especially the fermented tofu (which was not only a delicious flavour but was also a great talking point on our table). Most of all though, we loved that their food was not only full of beautiful flavours but it was full of fun too.
All Chefs from here on in should take note that there is always a place for a vegan burger on a menu (but obviously only if its really, really good).
When not being Guest Chefs at Six Senses Ninh Van Bay (and creating fabulous vegan food for us), Paul and Anton are based in London:
Anton Manganaro is Head Chef at BAFTA 195 Piccadilly, the iconic headquarter of the awards, which offers a variety of elegant and unique event spaces in the heart of London’s West End.
Paul Merrett is the owner of The Victoria Gastro Pub in Richmond, having previously worked in some of London’s finest hotels and restaurants, and appeared on a number of TV shows, including Saturday Kitchen.
They have worked together for many years having achieved Michelin stars at both Interlude and The Greenhouse, and more recently travelled to a number of Six Senses Resorts to demonstrate their considerable talents.
Paul and Anton were great company and also very vegan friendly, so we’re sure that if you call ahead as a vegan guest, they’ll be able to create you something as memorable and delicious as they did for us!
Click here to read more about the amazing experience we had at Six Senses Ninh Van Bay (be warned that it’s so good that you may be tempted to book a stay yourself).
Make a reservation at Dining By The Rocks for an outstanding vegan meal served in a very special location.
Enjoy eating food prepared by Chefs who have a passion for excellent food, a good understanding of veganism and who use top quality local ingredients to produce dishes that will really make you smile.
We were guests of Dining By The Rocks but please rest assured that their generosity in hosting us didn’t influence our views.
Ninh Van Bay,
Telephone: +84 58 3524 268