For decades, Nha Trang has been regarded as the number one summer beach destination in Vietnam because of its bright blue waters, white sand beaches, and 300 days of summer. With an increasing number of both foreign and local tourists that stream the beach city over the years, this once peaceful summertime escape during the 90s has now become a metropolitan powerhouse complete with activities that are available 24/7. And thus gave more reasons to why it needed such quiet and peaceful places where people could just chill and relax for a few hours before heading out again to the hustle and bustle of the downtown city life.
One of these few places, just recently opened is Rainforest, a cafe dedicated to healthy living and green spaces. We were lucky enough to interview one of its young thirty-something founders, Kirill Shumeykin, about their newest project in Nha Trang, how their idea came into fruition, and how it’s quickly dominating a niche that has yet to blossom in the years to follow.
Who are the people behind the Rainforest Project?
There are three people responsible for the birth of the Rainforest Project; Nguyen Huy Hoang, 37, Vo Hoang Quang, 33, and myself [Kirill Shumeykin]. Quang is in charge of setting up the business, including the venue, human resource, and overall operations. He is also the acting business mentor for the whole team as he has the most experience in the hospitality industry specializing in coffee shops and restaurants. He also has a very special way of thinking in terms of concept and a way to build an enthusiastic working culture.
Hoang on the other hand is the master design guy. Having worked with Hoang on a few successful projects in the past. He is known for his use of recycled materials and turning it into masterpieces that are truly remarkable and noteworthy.
And as for myself, I’m the one coordinating the whole project from its inception and stayed as the Operations Manager. I, together with Quang, came up with the idea of Rainforest. I am also responsible for the finance and construction aspects of the site. But basically, my main job is to make everybody happy, including the partners, the customers, and our employees.
What was the idea behind Rainforest? Why choose that name?
We have built this place with only one purpose in mind: to take people out of their busy and noisy lives. How do we achieve this? Let them relax in a green place with healthy food and drinks while listening to chillout music and enjoying good service.
We chose the name Rainforest because we wanted to make people think of our concept immediately upon reading it; something green, nature-like with elements of water and plants, and a cool and relaxing ambiance that’s hard to find in a city.
Your website says, Locally Sourced. Crafted with Love. Uniquely Designed. Are there any reasons for this brand message?
Everyone in our team works from the heart. We are 100% focused on bringing good food and refreshing drinks that are made from locally-sourced produce to our clientele. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Tell us about your menu concept. What makes it special?
Everything on our menu is based on our slogan Tasty Food & Healthy Drinks. None of our drinks has sugar nor any artificial additives in it. All jams and yogurts are made by our people from scratch and with zero preservatives. We are very proud to be the first place in Nha Trang that uses the process of cold-pressing for fruit and vegetable juices to keep its maximum nutritional value upon consumption.
For our food menu, we have two main options; Vietnamese and European dishes. But what really makes us stand out from the rest of the market is our Green Menu, which are mainly vegetarian dishes.
Do you have any other projects in Vietnam? Where are they?
Yes, we actually do have another project in the country based in Da Lat City. The place is called An Cafe, which is both a cafe and a restaurant located in the heart of the city. And just like Rainforest, An Cafe was built with the purpose of bringing people in a relaxed and peaceful mood while enjoying world-class coffee and outstanding views by the mountains.
Are there any plans to open another Rainforest elsewhere?
Our idea is not to expand the brand but to expand the concept and the vision somewhere else. We saw that An Cafe had received many excellent feedback from its pool of customers in its first few years of operations in Da Lat, which eventually brought about the idea of bringing Rainforest to Nha Trang. Hopefully in the near future, we’ll be able to execute the same efforts again in another major city promoting the concept of healthy eating and peaceful living.
Photos provided by Rainforest.