Eat, Drink and Be Merry

One of the city’s best festive buffets, bringing classic holiday cuisine to Saigon

In the open, airy dining room with soft, indirect lighting is the setting of a festive holiday buffet at Viet Kitchen at the Renaissance Riverside Hotel Saigon (8-15 Ton Duc Thang, D1). On one side of the room are large picture windows showing the traffic of Ton Duc Thang and the Saigon River beyond that, while along the opposite side are food stations. Once seated at a table by the window, our server offered us a choice of a glass of white or red wine. After choosing the white we were told about the numerous seafood options available as well as the more traditional holiday courses and the highlight being, of course, the whole roasted turkey ready to be carved.

Viet Kitchen (3)

There is a do-it-yourself salad station, however, I went for a prepared salad—a ham and white bean salad with avocado, onion and cherry tomatoes that was tossed in a subtle vinaigrette. I then added a green salad with arugula, walnuts, apple, pear and chunks of blue cheese. Both salads were incredible—the slices of avocado added depth to the ham and bean salad, which eventually had me going back for a second plate.

For our second trip, we headed over to two stations: the sushi and sashimi, and the charcuterie selections. The mix of black and green olive, the toasted almonds, the thin slices of cured European ham, the selection of artisan cheeses were heavenly. Beside the charcuterie selections was an array of freshly baked breads with butter and olive oil on the side, which was an excellent accompaniment to the cured ham and traditional cheeses. We savored the bold and fresh flavors of every bite from both stations.

One emphasis of the buffet is their wide array of seafood options, specifically shellfish, which is locally sourced. When we returned to the table the server had delivered freshly grilled lobster, crab and king prawns—all were remarkable, with my favorite being the lobster, grilled with garlic and butter and sprinkled with slices of spring onions.

After a bit of people watching, both from within the restaurant and outside the windows, we headed to the hot station of Western classics. I fixed a plate with slow cooked pork, a large helping of turkey imported from the US and a selection of the best traditional sides; mashed potatoes, stuffing, cooked red cabbage, roasted carrot and onion, and topped it all with turkey gravy. We savored the tender meats and delectable sides in large flavorful bites. I was surprised by how dynamic the juicy chunks of pork were, and the cinnamon and sugar accents of the cooked red cabbage.

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For sweets, there’s a lot on offer, from fresh fruits to cookies, cakes, tarts, pies and ice cream. There are creamy fruit tarts and fruit flavored ice creams if chocolate isn’t your thing, there’s a rich pumpkin tart as well, but for those with a palate for chocolate, there’s a huge selection. I opted for a scoop of chocolate and vanilla ice cream covered with chocolate chips and chocolate sauce, along with puff cookies with cream and a slice of chocolate mousse cake—and with that finale I can say that a good time was had by all.

Everything at the Renaissance Riverside Hotel Saigon holiday buffet was extraordinary. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, guests will be treated to a warm glass of mulled wine and live caroling.

Viet Kitchen is ideal for friends, families and corporate holiday get-togethers because of its open-space design and communal tables. The festive buffet dinner at VND1,590,000++/person (free flow house wine, beer and soft drinks).

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Turkey On The Run

The holidays are some of the most joyous but stressful times of the year. Not only is it a gathering of family from far and near with the inevitable personality clashes and idiosyncrasies, it’s the strains of putting together the Norman Rockwell- perfect dinner. This holiday season why not give the gift of time and family harmony with a complete turkey dinner with all the trimmings? Let Viet Kitchen take all the work out of the holidays with a 6kg turkey that serves 10-12. Notoriously a difficult meat to keep moist due to its low fat content, Renaissance Riverside Hotel Saigon roasts its turkeys to perfection, a delicate balance of temperature, time and basting, carefully packaged to ensure it reaches your dinner table in all its right-out-of-the-oven glory. Included is a bottle of wine, two sauces, stuffing, mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables, ensuring that even the pickiest eaters will be rendered immobile in that blissful tryptophan-induced state of lethargy that comes only after a festive holiday meal.

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Available from now until December 31, 2018. The turkey is priced at VND2,580,000 net (or VND2,280,000 net without a bottle of wine). Order 24 hours in advance by phoning (028) 3822 0033, ext 2309.

Images by Vy Lam

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