Eddy Azoulay and Henri Thomas, both Frenchmen who have resided in Hanoi for the last few years, teamed up with Azoulay’s high school friend Bao Quoc Nguyen and explained why, almost four months ago, they followed their stomachs right through to the conclusion of building a panini shop in Tay Ho – Savoor.
“We’re so used to them back in Europe, you know for lunch – it’s an easy food, but in France it’s considered fast food, they just toast the sandwich with all of the ingredients inside already, but here everything – my wife Annie is the chef – she makes absolutely everything herself,” explains Azoulay who wasn’t content with the panini options available in Hanoi.
After deciding to embark on their quest, they set about the task of recreating the homemade tastes that they missed. Azoulay lovingly describes the work they wanted to do. “Our pesto is made with fresh Italian basil leaves, the pulled beef is slow-cooked over eight to ten hours and so it takes a little longer when a customer orders, but it’s worth the wait, you can taste the fresh ingredients.
“It seems like all the simple recipes are made with a lot of love, there’s a lot of work that goes into it to make it the best recipe we can – we really want to go beyond fast food.”
Although Azoulay, Thomas and Nguyen all retained their jobs while initially working on Savoor, it’s a passion project for them and more often than not they find themselves looking for anyway to improve. “We weren’t expecting such a high demand for vegetarian options, at the moment we only have one, but we want to listen to our customers so we’re adapting some of our recipes now to create some more options that better suit the customers in Tay Ho.”
Savoor is located on To Ngoc Van, where Buffalo Bar used to be. “It just felt right here, we felt comfortable with it – Tay Ho was convenient, but we’d never have chosen this place if we were just in it for the money!” Thomas laughs. “To Ngoc Van seems to be booming though, there’s always construction and new places springing up, which means – yes, more competition, but also more people coming in too, so I think it’ll be good for us.”