The word “trill” comes from American hip-hop vernacular, a combination of the words “true” and “real”. Trill Cafe, then, might be a bit deceptive. It’s not limited to being a café — there’s a pool, a gym, a dinner menu, an event space — in fact, I’m not sure what it is.

 

The interior is hip — large wooden tables, couches made out of wood pallets, a ceiling made of fake grass. But it shows signs of an identity crisis. One room is all black, neutral, orange, and wood, with red paper lanterns hanging about. The next room is all white, garden-style, with twinkly lights hanging in glass bottles, knick-knacks adorning the walls, and cheeky neon signs.

 

Outside, there’s a sizeable roof deck, that I imagine is downright adorable at night, with more twinkly lights, ribbons blowing in the breeze and a large wooden platform covered in cushions for lounging. It’s a pleasant set-up to host events, weddings, parties and the like, and I assume the variety in décor serves as multiple backdrops for photoshoots. There’s also a gym! Identity crisis, indeed.

 

Analysis

 

Two major benchmarks by which a Vietnamese café can be measured are: Instagrammability, and the rate at which wedding photoshoots occur.

 

My first visit to Trill Cafe coincided with two wedding photoshoots, and I counted three girls Instagramming their teas, plus one man with a GoPro on a selfie stick. Thus, it has earned a (rigorously scientific) rating of 8.36* recurring on the Vietnamese café scale.

 

Outlying factors that contribute to this rating include a dedicated elevator for the café which is accessible only from the 25th floor, and an array of steak options. Indeed, the choices here extend far beyond coffee. And the view doesn’t hurt, either.

 

Poseurs

 

The obvious draw here, though, is the pool. Hanoi has few free rooftop pools, and the Trill Cafe fills that niche for those of us who aren’t fortunate enough to live in high-rise apartment buildings or fancy hotels. You’ll have to fight with a parade of brides-and-grooms posing poolside, but when I passed by on a Monday afternoon, the pool was empty.

 

There’s a huge menu, and at VND55,000 for a cappuccino, the coffee is on the pricy side. I had a refreshing apple mint tea (VND45,000) and a chicken burger for lunch (VND95,000) that was slathered in cheese — hard to go wrong there. The menu is massive, with a large selection of salads (VND80,000), pizza (VND150,000) and steak entrees (VND250,000).

 

Come for a coffee, stay for the view, or a pool party, or a steak, or a workout, or a fashion show. It’s all possible. — Jesse Meadows

 

*This number is entirely made up and not at all scientific

 

Trill Cafe is located on the 25th floor at 1 Nguy Nhu Kon Tum, Thanh Xuan, Hanoi


Photos by Jesse Meadows

Jesse Meadows

Like many expats before her, staff writer Jesse Meadows stopped in Hanoi on a backpacking trip in early 2015 and just hasn’t managed to leave yet. A compulsive documentarian with a case of incessant curiosity, she loves buying one-way tickets, photographing dance parties and writing stories on the bus. 

Website: www.messyjeadows.tumblr.com

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