Apr 26, 2007

Chillout in Saigon : Part 1

As I am writing a feature piece on chillout spots in Saigon, I thought I'd share. By no means is this a definitive list, more just my own personal favourites.

Le Fenetre Soliel is infamous for its crappy entrance.

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Inside however it's uncrappy.

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Here's what I wrote for my article:

Le Fenetre Soliel
is probably Saigon’s ultimate lounge lizard spot, having a variety of agreeable seats, sofas and even a double bed to sprawl over. The small establishment is contained in an area reminiscent of a living room in an old French chateau, with two large windows that allow light to spill in across the wood beam floor, the exposed brick walls rising up to meet a high ceiling. The menu boasts a fare which matches the atmosphere inside – light and airy. A wide range of fruit juices and shakes accompany a menu of salads, sandwiches and crepes. Don’t be put off by the decrepit staircase that leads up to Fenetre Soliel through a discreet entrance, inside it is quite different.

Next up:

Highlands Coffee has a number of locations in the city, though perhaps the most comfortable is found on Nguyen Du, in the shadow of the Saigon Trade Center. Perhaps not best for chilling out at lunchtime due to the crowds, this place is a good evening spot. A modern interior hosts a large seating area with plenty of sofas and armchairs for you and your mug of coffee. Another choice would be the wooden decking outside, a relatively quiet city spot good for people watching. The menu here has Asian and Western dishes, and the usual assortment of drinks including a tasty range of Italian sodas.

I especially do enjoy the outside seating in the evenings - a good spot.

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Another popular HCM City coffee shop chain is the Italian founded
Illy Café. One particular branch sits adjacent to the Lion Restaurant in Lam Son Square. Despite its city center location the courtyard outside is surprisingly secluded, or you could try the comfortable seating area inside. Find here ambrosial cold coffee drinks laced with amaretto, almond and other alluring ingredients, from 39,000 dong.

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Also, Illy has WiFi (as does Fenetre). In fact, any kind of coffee shop in this kind of bracket without WiFi is being left behind. However, it's not all poncy:

For an altogether less pretentious experience, how about taking residence in a deckchair down by the river. The
Café Park Bach Dang provides basic outdoor seating, with a view across the river into Thu Thiem. Far from the trendy bars and stylish cafes just down the road, it’s the perfect spot to amble through a few pages of novel whilst taking in scenes of daily life passing by. The menu consists of drink only, with coffee from 7,000 VND and beers 11,000 VND.

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I love sitting here for a lazy hour or so, watching the 'matter' float down the river.

Last one for today:

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Le Petit Café is aptly named. There are a number of choices when it comes to seating – the small enclosed area downstairs or in the atrium complete with water feature. No food is available in the evening, but there is a small Vietnamese breakfast and lunch menu. Find the perfect spot for an afternoon nap in the upstairs relaxation area, littered with cushions and low tables.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Napping -- so that's what they do in those dark rooms at the Petit Cafe and similar places (I have always found those rooms a bit intimidating to walk into since I feel like an old voyeur when walking in).