The perfect excuse to skip work and while away a Saigon afternoon
For any foodies in Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll definitely want to check out Saigon Kitchen located in the beautiful Hôtel des Arts Saigon (76-78 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3; www.hoteldesartssaigon.com). Saigon Kitchen focuses on serving authentic, high quality dishes in an upscale, yet cozy atmosphere. Shortly after arriving I realized that this was not going to be just a meal, this was going to be a gastronomic experience.
The lunch buffet has a diverse selection of cuisine, from sushi and sashimi to customizable stir-fry to order, to roasted pork and mashed potatoes. For each course, be it a salad or an entrée, there are dishes from Asian culinary cultures like Korea, Japan or Vietnam, to some of the finest European cuisine from France, Spain and Italy. I tried the papaya salad and the fresh spring rolls as appetizers, which were fresh and delicious. However, it was the European cured meats and cheeses, and the arugula salad with fresh strawberries, raspberries and grated cheese that really shined. For the first main course I had freshly prepared squid and prawns, which were so tender that a second helping was ordered. There’s also the option of marinated pork or chicken that can be cooked to order as well.
After that, I split my plate between baked sea bass with young vegetables and a lemon hollandaise sauce, and roasted pork with sour cream and mashed potatoes. Both were succulent choices. The house specialty is a unique salmon pho with tender pieces of cooked salmon in a traditional broth that should not be missed. While I was already pretty full, I managed a small bowl and was glad I made room. For dessert I tried a chocolate mousse and banana pastry that were both rich and creamy. I finished the meal by cleansing my palate with a bowl of chocolate ice cream with a touch of caramel sauce and white chocolate chips. It was a fantastic lunch.
Take the elevator up to the penthouse level to the Social Club Restaurant & Rooftop Bar where diners can have a cocktail and watch the chefs prepare the dishes in an open kitchen. The panoramic view is especially stunning during sunset. There’s a nightly happy hour from 5pm-8pm when cocktails and glasses of wine are 50 percent off. Tuesday through Saturday, after happy hour stay for live jazz from 8pm-10pm.
The Hôtel des Arts Saigon’s soothing décor has touches of Saigon’s past, from French colonial architectural features to the feel of a traditional street food market, replete with tailormadelight installations and a great view of the surrounding trees and cityscape.
The lunch buffet is VND588,000++ person and VND888,000++ with free flow of house wines. From 6am to 10:30am (11am at the weekends), Saigon Kitchen also has a breakfast buffet, which is set up like a traditional Vietnamese food market. The pastries, breads and desserts are made in-house by trained pastry chefs, which are baked fresh daily. For any breakfast connoisseurs, this is one of the best breakfasts being served in Ho Chi Minh City. I know I’ll be going back to try it. The breakfast buffet is VND 525,000++ per person. For seafood lovers, Thursday through Saturday, you can indulge in lobster, crab, oysters and much more during their Extravaganza Seafood Buffet. This is available for VND1,088,000++ per guest (for food only).
Images provided by Hotel des Arts Saigon