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A new supper club brings authentic Vietnamese flavours to Thane

The Studio's five-course meal has an intricate balance of sweet, savoury, sour, and spicy elements celebrated in Vietnamese cuisine

One of the highlights of the supper club is karaoke, where the hosts and guests can unleash their inner rock stars. (The Studio)

By Aisiri Amin

LAST PUBLISHED 04.03.2024  |  09:00 AM IST

When Capthi Ly first shifted from Vietnam to India after her wedding in 2019, the one thing that she craved but couldn’t find was authentic Vietnamese food. She found different versions of it—some moulded to the Indian palate while others lacked the flavours unique to the cuisine. Driven by the intense craving for the comfort of familiar foods, Ly decided to take matters into her own hands and started a supper club. 

The Studio, Ly’s supper club hosted at her home in Thane, is her second attempt at bringing traditional Vietnamese food to the table. In 2020, she started a cloud kitchen, Vietnam Express, which quickly became quite popular. But Ly wanted to do more—make people try the complete meal, not just parts of it and that was possible if she hosted them. 

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“When you sit down for a meal, you get to taste how the different flavours interact and how it all comes together. I wanted people to experience the joy of a complete home-cooked authentic Vietnamese meal," Ly says. 

Ly’s childhood home is in Nam Cat Tien, one of Vietnam’s largest protected areas which is about four hours away from Ho Minh City. Her family runs a restaurant and café; hosting people is not new for Ly, who started cooking when she was seven. Her childhood memories are intertwined with food, from watching her mother bring fascinating recipes to life to experimenting with food. 

“When I first learned to make my mother’s Vietnamese soup, it was a powerful reminder of the profound impact that food has on people, bringing them together across cultures and generations to share moments of joy and connection. This memory continues to inspire me to create memorable dining experiences," Ly says. 

While Ly manages the cooking part of the supper club, Manish Malhotra, her husband, takes care of the logistics part of it. “I also do the cleaning well though," he adds with a laugh.  The duo have a simple idea for the supper club:  to create an immersive dining experience, where guests can savour not just the food, but also the culture and stories behind each dish.

The five-course meal has been created as an intricate balance of sweet, savoury, sour, and spicy elements in Vietnamese cuisine. Some of the guests’ favourites have been pho, a comforting noodle soup infused with aromatic spices and topped with fresh herbs and tender slices of chicken; and banh mi, a delightful fusion of French baguette with Vietnamese fillings such as grilled meats, pickled vegetables. 

Ly makes every single dish from scratch. For instance, for the banh mi, she couldn’t find the perfect French baguette like the one she used to eat in her childhood home. So, Ly went to Vietnam and did a course on how to make it. Now, she makes her baguette for the dish. “The dedication Ly has to make every dish as authentic as possible is what makes the supper club one of a kind," Malhotra says. 

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The meal also includes banh xeo, a crispy Vietnamese crepe filled with shrimp, pork or chicken, bean sprouts, and herbs, served with a side of fresh lettuce and dipping sauce as well as the classic Vietnamese coffee. The coffee is sourced from Vietnam, freshly roasted every morning, and made in the Vietnamese style. “You won’t notice a difference between the coffee you drink in Vietnam and at the supper club," Malhotra says. 

For the hosts, the supper club is also a way of building a community and making connections over a good plate of food. One of the highlights of the supper club is karaoke, where the hosts and guests can unleash their inner rock stars.

For Ly, one of the memorable nights was when a group of guests spontaneously broke into a karaoke rendition and suddenly, the entire room joined in. “It's moments like these that remind me of the power of food and music to bring people together and create lasting memories," Ly says. 

Although Ly doesn’t speak English fluently, she doesn't feel language has been a barrier when hosting the supper club. “Food has its own language and sometimes it’s enough to build a community," she adds. The Studio’s growing community is a testament to it. 

The Studio (@_the_studio___) hosts the supper club at Capthi Ly and Manish Malhotra’s home in Hiranandani Estate, Thane. The cost for one person is 2,500 (including taxes). 

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