We asked Ben Peadon and his wife Phuc to try it out for a romantic break
Vietnamese-Australian celebrity chef Luke Nguyen brings classic dishes with a fine-dining twist to Vietnam House in Ho Chi Minh City. Six months on from its grand opening, we send Ben Peadon and his wife Phuc — working professionals in the furniture and hospitality industries respectively — to try it out for a date.
Favorite thing on the menu?
Phuc: The light XO garoupa fillet chargrilled in banana leaf is easily the best thing on the menu.
Ben: The Vietnamese coffee flan. It’s light and the level of coffee flavor is just right.
How about the drinks?
Phuc: I’ve gone with the Pomolone Passion iced tea. It’s infused with honey and passion fruit syrup and goes down a treat.
Ben: The 2013 Bodega Norton Barrel Select is my pick. It’s a smooth Argentinian red that goes well with the meat dishes.
How is it inside?
Phuc: The private rooms have wine cellars built into the doors and there’s an ornate, old-school elevator that serves two floors.
Ben: The clever sectioning of the main dining area allows for proper enjoyment of the food and good conversation.
I wish it had…
Phuc: Just a minor thing — chopsticks with better grip! I had some difficulty picking up the spring rolls.
Ben: Better lighting wouldn’t go amiss. It feels a tiny bit too dark in some areas of the restaurant.
Vietnam House is at 93–97 Dong Khoi, District 1
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Right up this street… A quick note on timeless Dong Khoi street
In the early 1900s, the building now occupied by Vietnam House was home to Café L’imperial, a popular haunt of the city’s wealthiest residents. It was one of many popular establishments on Dong Khoi street, which was then the epicenter of the city’s glitz and glamor. The street itself has played a starring role in many of the country’s stories — these include tales featuring the Saigon River, the Opera House, Notre Dame Cathedral and more. Today, Dong Khoi is lined with hip boutiques, cafés, art galleries and outposts of international brands. Check out the New Playground at the old CIA building (26 Ly Tu Trong) to shop for goods from local independent labels.
This article first appeared in the May 2018 issue of Smile magazine.