about

Madame Phu Man Chu

In the spring of 2016, Vu Dinh Hung and Luc Lejeune found themselves in the garden of the Buba Bistrot Exotique in Kifissia. They met Konstantinos Zouganelis and they immediately felt effortlessly familiar with each other, like people with common experiences and interests. From that moment on Konstantinos called his two new friends “the Vietnamese”.

Hung is originally from from the North of Vietnam and until recently lived in Ho Chi Minh City/ Saigon. He is a Vietnamese cuisine chef/ambassador and a Kung Fu master. He is also the owner of some of the most successful restaurants in Saigon.

Konstantinos Zouganelis comes from Mykonos, he grew up in Alexandria and lives in Athens. He is a musician and also owns restaurants and bars.

Their karmic meeting was the motive for several trips to Vietnam and Greece respectively, until the “Vietnamese” announced to Konstantinos that they were moving to Athens. The fact that a restaurant was set up in Praxitelous Street is probably the most predictable thing that happened in 2019.

about

Every morning, «Monsieur Hung», as the rest of his Madame Phu Man Chu family call him, leaves for Varvakeios Market with his small cart. There, he carefully picks vegetables, fish and meat, himself.

Remote ordering of raw materials is a rather unknown method for him, as he doesn’t feel at all comfortable cooking with ingredients someone else has picked out for him. In short, you could say that our chef is an heir of a gastronomical culture regarding food, ingredients, preparation and, of course, hospitality.

At Madame Phu Man Chu we do not seek innovation or ephemeral sensationalism but the intimacy created by flavor that has traveled through time and, in this case, long distances.

Respectively, Konstantinos starts his day every morning by trying to understand what went wrong the day before. In his mind, Madame Phu Man Chu has three complementary spaces: The «restaurant», the space in front of the open kitchen∙ the «club», the space in front of the bar∙ the «terrace», the space with the tables on the walkway. At least, this is what he has chosen to call them. Through continuous small interventions, he tries to bring the above forces to a balance of energy and serenity.

Monsieur Luc watches from a distance, intervenes discretely and might sometime operate as a customer, a table cleaner or an onion peeler. All of the above may occur separately or simultaneously, passing the simple message that at Madame Phu Man Chu behavior and cooperation protocols are far from conventional.

Madame Eleni’s dress and head scarf are always colorful and tasteful. She is a symbol of old Athens, declaring her presence in a developing & changing city.

Madame Eleni lives on the top floor of our building and she has welcomed us warmly in our new neighborhood. She was anxious about the opening of the restaurant and is happy with the results. We are “partners” in a way. We introduce ourselves to others as “partners” and always receive smiles, often accompanied by an inquiring or confused look. This look is our greatest satisfaction.

People in cities with long history have common characteristics, whether they live in Ha Noi, Marseille or Athens.

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