Burger Bound

Over-achieving Hungry Bunny serves top notch burgers and American comfort food

An Outpost of American comfort food just a short hop away from any location where the menu prices would have to compensate for higher rents, Hungry Bunny (1 Nguyen Cuu Van, D1) is a jewel-in-the-rough venue you’ll definitely want to hunt down, if only to get in early before this takes off as a fashionable nightspot away from the main drag. It’s neatly tucked away just off a twist in a lesser-used thoroughfare that cuts through the area between Districts 1 and 2, and those who are actively seeking it out will be amply rewarded by genuinely tasty, home-style heart-of-the-USA dishes in a clean, striking venue surrounded by unassuming local businesses and beer dives. Hungry Bunny’s black and white interior is evenly lit by street-lantern wall fixtures with heavy incandescent bulbs and a funky ceiling installation made with offcenter rings of neon: the restaurant’s real gem, however, is its cage-concept rooftop bar, which has yet to open but is likely to become virally popular once the finishing touches are made.

Oi Vietnam -Sep 2017_HungryBunny_DSC3311NT

The casual diner is more or less a one-man-show fronted by Cuong Doan, a recent returnee from the US for whom entrepreneurship in the F&B business has been the answer to his own fascinating existential crisis—ask him for more details. The restaurant serves as the ultimate solution to the skills he acquired as a kitchen hand and Starbucks barista back in the States, as well as his self-professed love for all things burger, from McDonald’s through to gold leaf New York. Hungry Bunny is Danny’s serious attempt to make his penchant for American-style gourmet burgers a legitimate business— and with the right ambience and service, a focused, well-executed menu, and an enthusiastically-realized interior design, he’s clearly got all the elements lined up in the right places. It’s a tight ship for now, and the short lineup of dishes on offer are only the first draft for an expanded range promised to be in the works. The advantage to this is that the condensed list of available options plays to the chef’s strengths—confidently and expertly prepared, the taste and quality of everything that comes out of the kitchen is guaranteed.

Oi Vietnam -Sep 2017_HungryBunny_Bacon & blue burger_DSC3212NT

Bacon & blue burger

Oi Vietnam -Sep 2017_HungryBunny_American cobb salad_DSC3198NT

American cobb salad

We take some simple starters. A cream of mushroom soup (VND65,000) with its toasty croutons has a pleasingly warm, buttery character and smooth consistency to it. The waiting staff recommend a slightly unorthodox American cobb salad (VND130,000) in a generous-enough size to serve as a main; it is overwhelmingly clean-tasting with its avocado and crispy romaine lettuce enhanced by a whiff of blue cheese and big chunks of chicken and bacon—and comes served with a special house ranch dressing in a gravy jug that you’ll want to apply lavishly. Hungry Bunny should be judged first and foremost for its burgers, and it’s certain that diners who stick to the signature range are going to find themselves well-fed. The hamburgers are heavy and classically built with bulging beef patties balanced by their salad elements. We had a very refined Bacon & Blue (VND140,000), a richly pungent creation with crispy bacon, blue cheese crumble, tomato, spring mix and blue cheese aioli—as well as a Bacon Clubhouse (VND135,000) with a sweet house cocktail sauce and caramelized onions, soaked in a mild melted white cheddar. These are heavy burgers, with thick 160-gram patties of pressed minced beef thoroughly infused with their respective cheeses that hold together firmly in the burger and break up easily in the mouth, radiating their latent heat. Hungry Bunny burgers hold their own against gourmet burgers  twice their price served in more upmarket locations; they’re both authentic in taste and creative in their ingredients, and come served with some chunky hand-cut fries in jackets perfectly-prepared without overuse of oil and paired with a pleasingly intense ketchup. Don’t be concerned if you’re not up for a burger—you’ll be well-pleased with a selection from the several pastas on offer. We tried a flawless spaghetti Bolognese (VND125,000) with a welcomingly familiar and balanced meat sauce that stood out as a contradiction to the restaurant’s more urban surroundings. The restaurant is also said to put on a good  mac & cheese and creamy chicken alfredo, while listing a few interesting sandwich options as well.

Oi Vietnam -Sep 2017_HungryBunny_Spaghetti Bolognese_DSC3236NT

Spaghetti Bolognese

Hungry Bunny will really get kicking once the rooftop’s ready so that guests will be able to follow up hearty meals like these with open-air craft beers and glasses of wine. Ice creams and desserts are promised to be feature menu items in the near future, making this a venue to keep an eye on. For now, you wouldn’t be ill- advised to hit Danny up for a cup of his very good coffee: having invested in a superb machine as well as some one-on-one coaching to undo the Starbucks automaton training, the K-Coffee brew is worth a visit to Hungry Bunny in and of itself.

Images by Ngoc Tran

Share this story, choose your platform!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on tumblr
Share on google
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on vk
Share on email
About the author:

Leave a Comment

Drink, Lounge, Be Merry

By Marco Bouwer There’s a classy new meetup venue in town, a 1920’s lounge bar with plush leather couches, swingy jazz tunes played from a gramophone player, and a wonderfully reserved atmosphere. Tucked in the welcoming bottom floor of the popular House of Barbaard, Saigon’s exclusive barbershop for gentlemen, is the Ministry of Men lounge

Read More »

Delightful Coffee Shops in D7

Text by Marco Bouwer Ho Chi Minh City does not take a step back for any city when it comes to coffee culture. It is home to thousands of independent coffee shops, which is a treat if you’re used to a city overran by the big international coffee brands. There’s adventure in discovering unique little

Read More »

Behind the Label

Is French wine about to hit bottom? France has the worldwide reputation for producing the best, and usually, the most expensive wines in the world. The five first growths of Bordeaux, also known as the Grand Crus, even though they are mass produced in the hundreds of thousands of bottles, easily reach astronomic prices around

Read More »

From a Virtual Restaurant to your Dining Table

No longer must restaurateurs rent space for a dining room to serve diners, Oi speaks to Rukmini Makkar about her new business What inspired you to start FEURO, and what does ” FEURO ” mean? Saigon is a vibrant melting pot of cultures, and has a wide array of delicious cuisines to offer, the founders

Read More »

Eat More Vegetables

Exploring Vietnam’s best vegetarian ingredients For many, Vietnam is a paradise for vegetarians of all kinds. Restaurants roll out a vegetarian menu for the first and 15th of every month for those looking for a bit of soul purification. Home cooks revel in a huge assortment of fruits and vegetables, changing with the season. And

Read More »

A Good Rose Is Good

Rosé rules. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Rosé wines are some of the most undervalued wines in the world. There are no particular reasons for this other than perhaps ignorance and misunderstanding them. In Asia, rosé wines are considered bad because “they are made from the bad red and white wines

Read More »