Restaurant Review: Park Lane

No Sunday is complete without partaking in this British tradition

A roast may be the most quintessential British weekend tradition, followed by the glorious English breakfast. The definition of comfort food is food that provides a feeling of consolation and that is associated with childhood home cooking. A good Sunday roast can be one of the hardest challenges. Unlike fancy restaurant-style dishes, there’s nowhere to hide, no slick techniques or sauces to cover up slip-ups.

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For the substantial population of British expats living in Saigon, Park Lane´s Sunday roast will come close to your hearts, so make your way to Thao Dien in District 2. Recently opened, Park Lane (28 Thao Dien, D2) is a multi-recreational space for everyone, from kids and families to couples and their dogs. A small mini-golf course complements the large garden area with tables and chairs spread about the place, similar to picnic rest areas often found along highways in the US. The tastefully designed house, which serves as the main room of the restaurant-cum-event venue, is an architectural beauty that stands out amid the whitewashed manors surrounding it.

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Not being British myself I brought my mate from Birmingham for an expert opinion on the matter. Hot and juicy and out of the oven at 1pm, the cooks started slicing up the mouthwatering roast, the weekly options rotate around four proteins: roast beef, turkey, lamb and pork (give them a call at 093 790 3140 ahead of time to find out). On our particular Sunday we received the roast beef, served with an array of roast vegetables, a bowl of decadent gravy and, of course, the piece that draws it all together, Yorkshire pudding. We started with the wine (complimentary with the roast), a fine white hailing from Bordeaux. It’s a fresh and lively wine, and soothes the palate on a hot tropical Sunday afternoon.

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When our plates of roast beef arrived we soon realized we wouldn’t do it justice to taste it in polite appreciative nibbles. Instead, we threw ourselves at it until there was nothing left. The several hours of cooking yielded a tangle of soft and luscious beef, drizzled in rich gravy. And sitting alongside it is one of my favorite British inventions—fluffy and fresh-out-of-the-oven Yorkshire pudding. Like a small volcano with a gaping crater full of gravy, it was phenomenal. The beef was beautifully seasoned and perfectly medium done, it was the perfect start to my day off. I must make special mention of the vegetable sides: the roast potatoes were exactly as you want them, a bit crunchy on the outside, with a healthy coating of spices, and soft on the inside. The carrots and onions were crunchy and flavor packed, while the steamed green beans and bok choy gave balance to the entire roast beautifully. After we sipped away the last of the wine and cleaned our plates of the last dab of gravy, the staff appeared with our cups of ice cream (also included with the roast), our two choices were rum raisin and Bailey’s — both creamy, and a cool respite from the sweltering Vietnamese heat.

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The weekly roast, glass of wine and dessert included, is VND400,000 and starts at 1pm and goes on until the meat runs out, normally by 6pm.

IMAGES BY NGOC TRAN

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