Dinner at ‘The Deck’
By Ann Wheaton in HCMC
We had visitors from England and had decided to take them to dinner at ‘The Deck’. This is such a perfect spot to take visitors, the whole ambience of the restaurant, which is located on the Saigon River is so welcoming. The walk through the formal garden, with various forms of seating for that casual afternoon drink, through to the contemporary building with floor to ceiling plate glass windows which allow you to see into the interior and the river beyond before you step through the splendid entrance.
|An entrance to The Deck Restaurant in HCMC’s District 2 - Photo: Ann Wheaton|
We were a party of four and although our visitors were hoping to sit ‘en plein air’ the weather was being temperamental. The rain during the late afternoon had stopped but the dark grey clouds overhead still looked threatening. We decided therefore to sit just inside the glass windows which still gave a wonderful aspect over the river, the passing freighters, barges and night sky.
The food at ‘The Deck’ has been designed to utilize the best of available fresh ingredients and focuses on Western appetites but with a twist of Asian flair. Our choices from the menu showcased the two influences very well. We commenced with a shared plate of a dozen chargrilled Phu Quoc prawns which had been marinated in garlic and olive oil (VND530,000 ). These were ‘finger lickin good’ and we did have warm bowls of warm water and lemon in which to do so.
After such a prodigious beginning we looked forward to our main course with great expectation and were not disappointed. Our guests chose chargrilled lamb fillet Kushiyaki (VND440,000) and chargrilled imported rib eye steak (250 grams VND475,000). My husband also plumped for meat with the pan fried duck breast with mango salsa (VND390,000) while I chose the pan fried sea bass with pumpkin flower sauce (VND250,000). The dishes were all beautifully and artistically presented and our chosen side dishes of sautéed baby potatoes with tropical herbs and sour cream (VND70,000) and mixed stir fried vegetables complimented the food perfectly.
While our table of carnivores did not give much opportunity to the non-meat selections there are sufficient enticing choices available. As well as a range of fish choices there are a a few innovative vegetarian options. Two dishes that caught my eye for future investigation under ‘Dim Sum’ were caramelized Phu Quoc prawn spring rolls (VND155,000) and date water chestnut (VND120,000).
Our food had been married with an extremely good South African (Stellenbosch) Chenin Blanc ‘Vinum’ (VND790,000) from the good selection of wines available on the list.
And so to dessert, where the white chocolate tart (VND90,000) won the accolade for best dessert of the evening.
This restaurant is not a cheap option in Saigon but compared to silver service restaurants worldwide it is value for money. On the evening we visited the service was excellent. I do not think you can beat sitting by the river on a balmy night with the breeze cooling the air, the river boats gliding by and a good glass of wine in hand and good companions to share it with.
The Deck Restaurant is located at 38 Nguyen U Di Street, Thao Dien, District 2, tel: 08 3744 6632.