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Industrial-style pub produces gourmet fare

Vintage trucks meet Italian classics at Luna Pub, a trendy, casual restaurant in downtown Da Nang. Hoai Nam reports.

Homemade pizza and exciting cocktails make Luna Pub one of Da Nang’s trendiest new hangouts.

Pizza the action: Made with imported flour, the pizza offers a taste of Italy.
Pizza the action: Made with imported flour, the pizza offers a taste of Italy.

The bar and restaurant, the newest branch of Ha Noi’s Luna d’Autunno, evokes a mechanic’s shop with bare brick walls and steel girders. An old truck cab, the Russian-made Kamaz, sits in one corner alongside a manual gasoline pump. Fitting the garage band-ambience, rock performances take place twice a month.

One rainy day, I parked myself at a table in front of the truck cab, as old trucks fascinate me. My American friend suggested I order the grilled bluefin tuna – caught nearby – and beef with homemade bread.

The first dish, grilled tuna, VND175,000 (US$8.3) was served in just 10 minutes, as I finished the last of my first Tiger Beer. The fish gave out the flavour of the ocean. It was covered in parsley and tomato sauce. The first bite was so soft and aromatic that I finished too quickly as I was so hungry.

Meat ‘n greet: The most popular way to start a meal here is with cold cuts and other antipasti.

Then I moved on to Australian beef with green pepper. As a big eater, I tend to order beef as it is quite filling. The bread also made the dish more substantial. Served rare, the meat was juicy and tender and it went well with green pepper.

The food is cooked by a French chef assisted by Vietnamese staff. Many ingredients are imported from Italy, including the flour that goes into the homemade bread and pizza.

Local customer Nguyen Duc Hung asserted that the pizza was the best in the city.

“I really love the crust as it’s made of Italian wheat flour without additives or baking powder. It’s just like Italy,” he said.

Plates of plenty: Hearty pasta and pizza dishes will satisfy large appetites.

For large groups, the 55cm Mega Pizza VND420,000 ($20) to VND465,000 ($22) is perfect for a weekend party. Diners in a more refined mood can sample other dishes like grilled tuna and steak with tomatoes, oregano and black olive sauce.

The Luna pub also offers Pizza Quattro Formaggi with VND190,000 ($9); Pizza Guilermo at VND185,000 ($8.8) and Pizza Pecatora with VND190,000 ($9).

Bar manager Duong Thu Hien said the most popular dish was anti pasti della casa, a selection of cold cuts, cheese and Italian pickles served on wooden plates and accompanied by crusty bread. She also recommended Parma pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and Parma ham and ravioli Luna with cheese, cream, pine nuts and raisins.

At night, the bartenders make creative cocktails featuring ingredients like chili, cinnamon and wasabi. One drink is called Oi Troi Oi (Oh, my God) at VND30,000 ($1.4) for one shot. Hien explained that some drinkers utter those words upon tasting the concoction.

On holidays like Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, there is only standing room at the bar and sometimes visitors must wait on the pavement.