A summery cocktail or ice tea. The – well-known to Asia travellers – scents of all sorts of delicious food. Sticks of incense, hanging plants and inside trees, blue-white plates with chopsticks. Everything breaths Vietnam. Yes, at Little V you will feel like on a holiday!
Close to the Laurenskerk you find the editors’ favourite Vietnamese restaurant of Rotterdam. The first Little V was established eleven years ago in The Hague; two years later a second restaurant opened in Rotterdam. And it has been a tremendous success from since its opening day! The restaurant was almost full every night, so when the building next door got free for rent, the opportunity to expand the restaurant was seized immediately.
The entrance is now at the ‘new’ part. When stepping in, the holiday vibes kick in immediately! Because Little V is designed in Vietnamese style with a lot of attention to detail. That already starts in the hallway – incense, candles, pretty lamps – and that continues in the restaurant itself. Even the toilets breath Vietnam! The restaurant in The Hague is designed as a street food market, but here in Rotterdam we dine in the unique atmosphere of a Vietnamese temple complex.
When entering the Rotterdam restaurant, if feels like stepping in a courtyard of a temple. The big windows bring a lot of light in, the walls are painted in light colours, there are inside trees and all sorts of plants are hanging from the ceiling. Big doors lead to the colourful bar and the old part of Little V. The old part is designed as a Vietnamese monastery with darker colours and even an alter with Buddha images.
The beautiful interior creates a unique atmosphere and sets the tone for the evening. But take a look on the menu and the beverage chart and it will be clear to you that the guests of Little don’t just come for the special atmosphere. The drinks menu offers all sorts of cocktails and wines, specifically selected to fit the Vietnamese flavours. But Little V also serves tons of unique and specially designed non-alcoholic drinks: virgin cocktails, home-made ice teas and Pinky Rose lemonades.
Making a choice from the menu is hard as well! The regular Asian eatery offers perhaps a handful of dishes, but there is so much to chose from at Little V. Some small bites? Three courses? Making your own spring rolls? Or a noodle soup? It all tastes delicious! And what we like as well, is that you can have a feast meal with cocktails and all sorts of dishes, while you can also have some food here with a much smaller budget. At Little V, you can dine for fifty but also for ten euro’s if you wish.
The staff explains us that the Vietnamese kitchen is actually very straightforward. The dishes are very simple; it is a matter of combining the right ingredients. The many herbs and flavourings are essential to that. The chefs at Little V are all Vietnamese – not Chinese like in most Vietnamese restaurants in the Netherlands – so the authenticity of the dishes is guaranteed. The chefs know how the food should look and taste from their kitchens at home!
Little V selects her suppliers with care. The meat for the marinated tenderloin for example comes from the same suppliers as that of the famous meat restaurant Loetje. The wines are selected by wine houses to fit the sweet, sour and spicy flavours of the Vietnamese kitchen. Beer lovers can order the Vietnamese Saigon beer. The Vietnamese coffee comes from a small coffee maker that created a unique blend specially for Little V. The flavour is somewhat sweeter than you might be used to.
We drink two of Little V’s signature ice teas and get a tasting of all sorts of dishes. We start with a chicken skewer, fresh and fried spring rolls and a chicken salad with prawn crackers, all served with the best home-made sauces. After that we have an extensive course with delicious tender chicken (our favourite!), marinated tenderloin, white fish with ginger, Vietnamese vegetables and fried rice. The table bulges with food and we indulge all the amazing dishes. If we would like to finish with some Vietnamese slow blend coffee or a cup of thee? Yes, please!
We notice how many staff walks around in the restaurant. The staff is busy explaining the menu and the Vietnamese kitchen to all the guests. They tell us how to eat all the dishes and what sauces to use with what food. The prawn crackers should be used as a spoon for the chicken salad, you roll the chicken skewer with noodles and herbs in a lettuce leaf, the home-made hoisinsauce fits the spring rolls. Check.
The extra attention and explanation is the last piece to complete the perfect Vietnamese experience. Little V lives up to its name and offers a small piece of Vietnam in the heart of Rotterdam!
Address: Grotekerkplein 109
Opening hours: Tuesday – Thursday: 12 PM – 9:30 PM | Friday – Saturday: 12 PM – 10:30 PM | Sunday: 12 PM – 9:30 PM