For anyone who lives, plays, and more specifically eats in the country’s capital, it’s clear that Hanoi is an incessant melting pot of cultures, cuisines and characters that regularly attracts a spread of both international and local flavours to the table. Recently jumping on the bandwagon of foreign businesses to join Tay Ho’s increasingly expanding waistline is West Lake Hanoi Farmers Market & Don Quijote or WHM & DQ for anyone who thinks West Lake Hanoi Farmers Market & Don Quijote is a bit of a mouthful.
The area is well-known for its multiculturalism in both its residents and its restaurants, and the new addition on Quang An’s lakefront is catering to the rising demand for a diversity of options from all corners of the globe. Fittingly, WHM & DQ is a medley of sorts, specialising in food hailing from the mainland of its namesake’s Spanish literary legend with a dash of sushi-inspired tapas for good measure, in addition to an in-store mini-market stocked with locally sourced vegetables and ingredients.
Behind the scenes of the eclectic culinary locale are Japanese partners Masaru Matsumoto and Yosuke Tachibana, who have worked together previously on other ventures in the city, but decided to open WHM & DQ after Tachibana visited Spain in February.
“I’ve travelled and lived all over Spain over the years and have always been a big fan of the food there. On my most recent trip there I had the idea for a restaurant with authentic Spanish cuisine in Hanoi. We own a couple of other Japanese restaurants in other areas, but we wanted to do something a little different, and after realising there was a lack of places serving Spanish food, we thought Tay Ho would be the perfect location for it.”
Getting Spanish food right in a country so far from the cuisine’s roots is a challenge in itself, but WHM & DQ have pulled it off with ease, offering an array of dishes from Spain’s most acclaimed foodie regions. Tapas in all shapes and forms reigns supreme in the menu, and the small delectable platters are laid out by the dozens on the restaurant bar top for customers to pick and choose, exactly as they would be in any local haunt in San Sebastian. A handful of miniature sushi entrées are also a quirky twist to the classic bite-sized dish, involving a variety of fresh mackerel, sardines and shrimp.
The rest of the menu is a carnivore’s wet dream – the restaurant prides itself on its assortment of home-cooked sausages, spiced jerk chicken, and marinated meats, some of which are also available by the kilo at the in-house market for customers to take home. Tachibana explains that adding the market with not only meats, but also a variety of vegetables and fruits was an idea that blossomed from Matsumoto’s desire to support local farmers after visiting the surrounding area of Nam Dinh, and is their way of creating a link between the farms and the customers.
WHM & DQ is still very much a blossoming work in progress, and with talks of a food app, an upstairs bar opening in a few weeks, and even a co-working space on the third floor all on the horizon, the venue has no limit on how high they can aim.
To get your paws on some paella, sushi and smoked meat, head to 56 Quang An, Tay Ho, Hanoi.