Novemberfest at Heron House

This fall has most certainly been the strangest one we have experienced in central Vietnam since we arrived. A rainy season that was all but nonexistent until late November and yet Hoi An was surprisingly quiet as the beaches seemed deserted despite the sun and hot temperatures.  Add in a rising demand for special events for the expat population and forging some friendships with some young and upcoming chefs and the decision was made to start using Heron House for special events to get creative, fat, tipsy, and just generally spoiled! The culmination of all this being NOVEMBERFEST: a celebration of Belgian & German cuisine and the promise of hearty food to (one day) welcome some cooler temperatures in Hoi An.


We were lucky enough to welcome 22 hungry local guests to Heron House for some mean home style cooking in our beautiful colonial villa and I must say we did not disappoint! Chef Huu and Loic devoted some serious time to planning out the ideal Fall 4 course menu and started preparing some of the dishes days in advance to ensure that everything went smoothly.  Everything sourced needed to be fresh, organic and home made so the boys went crazy in the kitchen making their own garlic mayonnaise, roasting peppers, crafting their own cheese croquettes, smoking their fresh sardines in the Texan smoker, and even using arugula and limes from Loic’s own garden.


It was in short a truly memorable night at Heron House and we hope you like some of our pics and the menu that follows below


Belgian Style Cheese Croquettes


Bruschetta of Smoked Sardines on a bed of roasted peppers, fresh garlic mayonnaise, and German beer bread

First Course:

Tomatoes stuffed with sweet shrimp, mayonnaise, celery and granny smith apples, sitting atop a layer of fresh pesto, with an arugula & frisé salad

Second Course:

Carbonnade Flamande cooked for 9 hours with Wagyu Beef and Chimay Grande Reserve Beer, roux, and plenty of onions naturally.  All served with a decadent layer of classic German mash with caramelized carrots, fried onion curls, and fresh parsley


Pears poached in a merlot red wine sauce of spices and lemon & orange zest served with home made vanilla ice cream and water apple compote

Cheese Course:

  With help from Le Comptoir in Da Nang we were able to offer three beauties from Les Freres Marchand of 2 year old Comte, Reblochon and Loic’s favourite Mimolette Extra Vielle

The Fallout afterwards was predictable, lively, and utterly saturated with laughter, wine, and cocktails throughout the night.  Cant wait to see what we try out next in December!


The Castro Birthday Party Feast

On the occasion of Marjorie Castro’s big birthday, her sweet sons organized a nice weekend family reunion and the request for a special night….and Heron House was more than happy to oblige as we cooperated with her sons to devise the perfect menu focused around locally sourced ingredients, free range poultry, and some new recipes we whipped up predominantly based on classic western dishes with a new oriental spin.

Castro family dinner menu

The results spoke for themselves as the birthday girl in question could not have been happier and Chefs Loic and Thanh loved talking with our guests and explaining the dynamics of each dish.  Not sure if we quite competed with ‘Chef’s Table’ but I will say there were far more smiles around the kitchen.

Will be trying to share some of the recipes in question in the future, but for now we just wanted to share our menu, some pics from our lovely guests, and in general thank the Castro family for a memorable weekend!


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The Castro family birthday dinner:

Marinated Mushrooms with toasted almonds on home baked toast canapés

A variety of 4 local white mushrooms marinated in an olive oil and raspberry vinaigrette. The perfect starter that will leave the hands dirty and the stomach happy


Chilled Mango Gazpacho with lemongrass sautéed shrimp

Hoi An’s very own take on gazpacho with a little chili kick and large chunks of fresh mangoes & tomatoes served with lemongrass sautéed shrimp and mint on top

Oriental Caprese Salad

Our local tomatoes are only enhanced with capers, Japanese seaweed, sesame seeds, and of course a large piece of fresh Da Lat mozzarella with sesame & oil dressing

Affligem Double beer Smoked Free Range Chicken and Duck

These birds sat on top of thrones full of Belgian double beer for 4 hours while sweating in our smoker and having their skins regularly basted in a maple syrup and thyme honey sauce.  There are indeed far worse fates off for these birds

With baked potatoes topped with a mix of east and west

A simple twist on a classic, these baked potatoes are cooked directly on the charcoals and are served with sour cream, fresh chives, and Vietnamese fried scallions on top

And simple sautéed mushrooms with garlic butter and thyme

We love using the dark mushrooms grown in Da Lat and roasting them in the oven before tossing them in a simple butter and garlic sauce. The perfect partner for Daffy

Thanh’s own Tiramisu

Heron House’s own resident baker has made her own delicate tiramisu using fresh whipped cream and Vietnamese cacao powder.  The perfect Birthday Cake!