Hoi An Restaurants / International

White Marble Wine Bar & Restaurant

$$$
11am -11pm
98 Le Loi
+84 (0) 235 3911862
whitemarble@visithoian.com
$$$

It was a damn shame that Andy and I chose to visit Old Town wine bar, White Marble, on a Monday night. Both of us had pre-sunset starts the following morning and had to be semi-sensible when it came to selecting our beverages for the evening. (A damn shame, indeed!)

Because quite frankly, I could’ve happily enjoyed at least another hour in the charming environs of White Marble. At the intersection of Lê Lợi and Nguyễn Thái Học, bang in the heart of the Old Town, it provides ample people-watching opportunities, for starters. And if the street scene unfolding before you is somehow boring – although it never is – you can flick through one of the travel magazines provided. Handy.

I could go on about the prettiness of the warm yellow walls, the dark wood, etc…but I won’t. Because it’s Old Town, after all; almost every building is a work of art.

So White Marble ticks the right boxes in terms of location and setting – with the creaky upstairs room the perfect spot for an intimate date. But we were there for two things, and two things only: to eat great food and to drink great wine.

And by {insert preferred deity here}, we did! We started off with two glasses of red: a Chianti from Tuscany for me – a little disappointing – and an excellent Merlot/Corvina blend for Andy. (Also Italian. The wine, not Andy.) This was followed by a delicious fizzy Riesling for Andy and a satisfying French Shiraz/Syrah blend for me.

Food-wise, we were thrilled by everything placed in front of us. Each dish was served when it was ready, tapas-style – requesting our full attention. And each dish was, quite simply, delicious.

First up, the Japanese-inspired yakiniku beef brisket. Served incredibly tender, on a sizzling plate with bok choy, juicy mushrooms and a sweet ‘n’ smoky glaze, we were left licking our chopsticks in a less-than-refined way. It wasn’t the biggest of portions but refined, elegant and, like I said, chopstick-lickin’ good.

Next to arrive was our chorizo-stuffed squid with smoked eggplant and sweet potato. Sounds incredible, right? It was. Beautifully presented, the combination of salty meat and salted squid should’ve been too much…but it worked. The smoky, charred roasted vegetables went perfectly with the kick of the capsicum sauce. An intense punch of flavours for something so delicate and pretty!

Finally, the smoked duck crepes. This was a bigger portion – it’s made for two-person sharing – but we rose to the challenge. The meat itself was perfectly cooked, nicely pink with not too much fat, and the sweet dipping sauce was a slam-dunk.

White Marble_Hoi An Bar/Restaurant

Even making the rolls was a fun exercise: filling the soft crepe with a sliver of celery, a thin spring onion, a slice of carrot and of course not forgetting the duck breast before rolling and dipping and munching and sighing with happiness. It was an exercise I could practice again and again. So I did.

And OK, practice may not have made perfect, but I don’t think my rolling attempts were too bad!

We finished our meal with a portion of deliciously crispy banana spring rolls and creamy homemade vanilla ice-cream. And it was very reluctantly that we tore our eyes away from the tempting cocktail selection, which included a “passion vanilla martini” and a “lychee martini” among others. Work called the next morning. Regrettably.

Many White Marble reviews complain about the price. And ok, at 170K a glass, it certainly ain’t cheap. Plus, the portions are a little on the small side. But you have to remember that this is food of a much higher standard than many supposedly comparable Old Town haunts. It’s elegant and sophisticated “fine dining” that fills (without overfilling), satisfies and delights.

Our meal totaled around 1.4 million VND but for that we had amazing food, 4 glasses of wine and dessert. Try getting anything similar in a high-class restaurant back home and you’d be exhausted from the effort!

Save White Marble for your next date night or when you simply want to treat yo’self. You’ll be glad you did.

Written By
Emma Sothern

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