When was the last time you visited Vietnam? If you ever find yourself pining for a bahn mi or sweet, slow-drip coffee, drop by SPRMRKT. In an effort to celebrate the relationship between Singapore and Vietnam (an apparent 45 years of friendship), SPRMRKT has launched a three-month long showcase of food, drinks, design and art. There is plenty to do until the 20th of March. Imbibe Vietnamese craft beer, enjoy a chocolate and spirit pairing, and stuff yourself at a special four hands brunch. Here’s what to look out for.
You don’t need a fancy machine to make good coffee. If the beans suck, even the most sophisticated brewer in the world can’t turn rubbish into something delicious. Look at the Vietnamese. All they need is four little pieces of metal – one to hold the grounds, one to press them down, one to filter the coffee through and one to keep the steam in. The Vietnamese are simple folk, but boy do they brew a mean cup of coffee. If you like it their way – you know, slowly dripped and sweetened with condensed milk – try Soul Coffee. Founded by an Australian-Vietnamese and Englishman, its coffee comes from a plantation in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, where the best beans are handpicked and roasted.
Get yourself a bag of beans ($16) or have it straight ($6) at the restaurant itself
Pasteur Street Brewing Company’s Craft Beers
Gone are the days when a night out would only mean sitting on a stool, along a sidewalk with a cheap bottle of beer in hand. In the past two years, more than a dozen craft beer breweries have sprouted across Vietnam and thanks to them, the people are drinking better.
Pasteur Street Brewing Company, one of the pioneers, accounts for the lion’s share of craft beer produced in Vietnam. Hops, malt and yeast are imported for quality assurance, and at least one local ingredient is added to each style of beer. At SPRMRKT, expect the Passion Fruit Wheat Ale, Pomelo IPA, Jasmine IPA and Coffee Porter (available at the outlet on 2 McCallum Street on 26 Jan and 41 Robertson Quay on 27 Jan).
PS. If you’re feeling extra thirsty, all you have to do is pay $30 for two hours of free flow beer and canapés on the 26th of January, from 5.30pm to 7.30pm. Happy hour prices will follow suit, and only at the SPRMRKT on 2 McCallum Street.
Craft beer and now chocolate? Vietnam’s definitely on a roll. In fact, cacao has been growing in Vietnam for at least 150 years, yet it’s taken a while for the rest of the world to take notice. There’s a handful of chocolatiers in Vietnam today, and Marou would make the country’s first premium chocolate brand. Try it together with red wine, gin or bourbon. Pairings will be on the menu all way through, and if you’re keen, a special workshop hosted by its co-founder, Samuel Murata, will be held on February 3rd. For those who love their chocolate and liquor, this is something to think about.
Stone Hill Cocoa Products
Don’t underestimate the Vietnamese. Here’s Stone Hill, another chocolatier on the rise. Its cocoa comes from the Dong Rai province, where it is farmed without pesticides and irrigated naturally by rain and spring water. 72 per cent chocolate ($24) and cocoa nibs (from $16) are available, as well as the non-edibles like soap ($14) and body scrubs ($26).
Brunch With Peter Cuong Franklin
Peter Cuong Franklin, the chef known for his new Vietnamese cuisine at Anan Saigon, will partner SPRMRKT’s Joseph Yeo in this one-day only brunch. There will be four courses, each featuring two dishes rolled out by both chefs. And instead of your usual (and boring) brunch food, tuck into lobster pho, cheese and egg mimosa and salmon vermicelli rolls.
$68++. Happening 17 March from 10.30am to 2.30pm, only at the SPRMRKT Kitchen & Bar on 41 Robertson Quay