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A long lunch of French and Vietnamese alchemy

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Two of Canberra’s top chefs are combining Vietnamese and French cuisine to create a Sunday long table lunch feast.

Andrew Duong from Miss Van’s, and Keaton McDonnell from Ondine European Brasserie are collaborating to bring diners an innovative blend of Vietnamese inspired French creations and French-inspired Vietnamese items such as bahn mi ‘éclair’ and bouillabaisse congee.

Their Sunday Long Table Lunch will take place at Ondine on Sunday 20 June and feature six courses that will surprise and delight the maximum of 50 diners.

We talk to Andrew about how the event will unfold. 

How and when did you conceive of the idea?

Chef Keaton and I worked together for a HerCanberra Sunday Supper Club event back in 2018, that was probably when the idea originated.  With Keaton opening up his Ondine Brasserie last year, and myself opening Miss Van’s—it was an event that naturally had to happen.

What are the natural synergies between French and Vietnamese food?

Vietnamese food gained a lot from the French occupation in 1880 for over six decades.  The French brought their bread (banh mi), coffee and dairy.  Beef was not a mainstream protein consumed prior to French occupation; the French pot-au-feu braised dish inspired our pho.  There’s not much of a reciprocal influence, this event showcases that.

Ondine’s Keaton McDonnell. Image: 5 Foot Photography.

How long have you known Keaton and what has your working relationship been?

Keaton and I have known each other for well over a decade.  We have a lot of friends in mutual circles.  I used to frequent the original Pulp Kitchen (in Ainslie) when he was there working with his now business partner at Ondine – Danny Giordani.

What have you learnt about French cooking from Keaton?

Being a cook myself and not a classically trained chef, I’ve learnt a lot about cooking and techniques used in French food from Keaton which has helped me refine my Miss Van’s menu.

What has Keaton learnt about Vietnamese cooking from you?

What makes a great pot of pho (using. lot of ‘proper’ cooking techniques applied to my nan’s traditional recipe. Also the magical power of our stock powders.

What is your favourite menu item at Ondine and why?

Ondine’s chicken liver pate is without a doubt the best I’ve ever had.  It’s just damn delicious.  I’ve taken Keaton’s recipe to use for our banh mi.

Miss Van’s Andrew Duong. Image: 5 Foot Photography.

Why don’t we do more long table long lunches? What is the allure?

I have no idea, but more people and venues should be doing them.  It’s an opportunity for venues and chefs/cooks to collaborate and offer fun, once-off menus that might not necessarily work in a day to day restaurant and a chance for customers to experience new concepts.

What is going to surprise diners most during the feast?

It’s going to be an unexpected unity between rustic Vietnamese flavours, and good French cookery.

What do you love about Ondine?

The food.  I describe the venue to customers and friends as a place that does unpretentious French bistro food.  They nail it, every time.

The Essentials

The Miss Van’s/Ondine Long Lunch
Where: Ondine, 7 Duff Place Deakin.
When: 12.15 pm – 3 pm on Sunday 20 June.
Cost: $98 for food and $48 for drinks
Tickets:  Available from Eventbrite.

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