Interested in dining on French fare, fresh seafood, and dark chocolate while listening to live opera in a pink mansion built on the edge of a deep-blue sea?
That’s precisely what’s on offer at Pink Pearl, a new French fine dining restaurant that opened Oct. 29 on Vietnam’s Phu Quoc island and sits on the property of the JW Marriott’s new Emerald Bay Resort.
This dreamlike spot mixes “inventive design with inspired cuisine.” The food is deconstructed French and the design looks like Marie Antoinette’s world viewed on psychedelic drugs.
The structure that houses the new restaurant has a backstory based on a real person and is outfitted with lots of 1880’s details. It was inspired by the life of a character called Madame Pearl Collins, the Vietnamese wife of a foreign university dean — an unheard of pairing in those days. Collins was said to be a socialite and lavish party hostess known for her love of pink, her French cooking skills, and her opulent interiors that went heavy on her favorite hue with touches of gold, fuchsia, and turquoise.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that all of this: the story, the design, the interiors, sprung straight from the mind of famed hotel designer Bill Bensley, known for unique design properties such as The Siam, Capella Ubud, and The State in Phuket, which we previously reviewed here.
The opulent design and seaside location were part of what the designer wanted for the high-end resort’s signature restaurant. With French doors along the ocean side, the outside can be invited in when the weather is right or guests can eat in the garden, taking full meals or high teas outdoors.
For special occasions, the new restaurant has private dining rooms, each named after another character in Madame Pearl Collins’ inner circle. Or visitors can catch a very real buzz in the private wine tasting room.
For those that want to peruse the wine collection before popping a bottle, walk up a dramatic and dizzying spiral staircase to visit their French and international bottles.
True to Bensley style, the place has dramatic high ceilings, giving it an almost funhouse feel. The eclectic sculptures throughout the restaurant are meant to pay homage to the socialite’s playful spirit.
Bensley also went as far as to place art from 1886 on the walls, the time frame when the lady would have lived in the house.
The deconstructed French modern menu was created by Chef de Cuisine Amine Lakhdari, who worked in buzzwordy themes including “seasonal,” “farm-to-table,” and “local products.”
Among the signature dishes are Phu Quoc Sea Urchin appetizer (VND620k/US$27), Charolaise Beef Pithivier (VND1,650k/US$71), and Opera Pearl Marou Chocolate, a dessert using Vietnam’s famed 74 percent dark chocolate alongside local coffee (VND220k/US$9.5).
Their Pink Pearl Set Menu goes for VND1.55 million (US$64) and is described as “delicate and floral.” The Hedonist set menu will set you back VND2.1 million (US$90).
As guests digest, they can listen to live piano and and violin stylings with a highlight performance of French opera performed from the restaurant’s balcony each evening.
And if overindulging in rich food a la Marie Antoinette gives you heartburn, feel no shame in producing a bottle of Pepto Bismol from your purse — it matches the paint perfectly.
An Thoi Town
Open daily, 6-10pm, closed Tues. and Wed.