Professionally, chef Vince Nguyen spends most of his time in the kitchen making minimalist dishes in intricate tasting menus. His restaurant, Berlu, was a rising star restaurant of 2019, collecting raves from local critics. But this year, he’s doing something else, as well: Less than a week after launching his takeout tasting menu, Nguyen will start serving grab-and-go Vietnamese pastries out of his restaurant space, via a new plexiglass takeout window.
As the Oregonian first reported, Berlu’s bakery will serve pastries like mango cake rolls, seasonal fruit tarts, and coffee cream puffs from behind a plexiglass shield in the restaurant’s entrance. Nguyen is particularly excited about his version of bánh bò, a rice cake sweetened with pandan, with a distinct honeycomb-like appearance. “It’s one of the strangest things I’ve ever had, but it’s undeniably delicious,” Nguyen says. “If you go to a Vietnamese bakery, there’s lots of French influence — but this will also be gluten-free and dairy free. It’s very different from what other people are making.”
Outside the bakery case, the restaurant will serve coffee sourced from Southwest Vietnam, -potentially served with house-made sweetened and condensed coconut milk and house-made kombucha.
Berlu’s bakery will be open from 8 to 11 a.m. Tuesday through Friday at 605 SE Belmont Street, starting August 11.