Mezz interior

It is rare that we write about buffet restaurants. Not that there’s anything wrong with them — when it comes to the dining options, their offerings range from the average to the phenomenal.

Le Jardin. Photo by Julie Vola 

Noey Neumark heads to recently opened Le Jardin. With a motorbike loving, InterCon chef at the helm, is it as good as the hype? Photos by Julie Vola

Upstairs at Relish & Sons. Photo by Kyle Phanroy

Show me a man who hasn’t waxed lyrical about a pattie of meat and two bits of bun in his hand, and I’ll show you a man who hasn’t lived. A good burger is simply good food, so it’s no surprise that it’s been on the surge here for a while in food-loving Vietnam. Yet, far from being sated, in Ho Chi Minh City the public’s hunger for a high quality and still affordable burger option has remained. Enter Relish & Sons.

Stepping into the dining room of Spices Garden, the Metropole Hotel’s Vietnamese restaurant, one is enveloped in Indochine elegance, from the dark wood furniture reminiscent of yesteryear to suspended silk lanterns in subdued hues. The service mirrors the ambiance — thoughtful, unobtrusive and charming.

Eon 51 offers an elevated dining experience — quite literally. The restaurant is an expectation-raising 51 floors up in Ho Chi Minh City’s iconic Bitexco Tower, and while getting there isn’t as straightforward as you might think, the reward for navigating the building’s car park, escalators and two changes of lift, is a view that few else can offer. With it comes an obvious sense of occasion. But be warned, expensive views don’t come cheap here.

With our mystery diner taking a well-needed summer hiatus, this month we send Noey Neumark to Hanoi’s latest purveyor of the mighty pizza, Papa Roma. Photos by Julie Vola

Three-month-old Mountain Retreat is the newest addition to the stable of mom-friendly restaurants such as Secret Garden, Quan Bui and Cuc Gach Quan, which offer simple yet tasty Vietnamese fare in a homey, unpretentious setting. Mountain Retreat’s spin is on northern Vietnamese food, claiming the Ha Giang style’ — at least according to a sign on the way in. It’s the kind of place you’d bring your hygiene-obsessed parents to if they came to Saigon and were too afraid to eat street food, but still wanted to sample Vietnamese cuisine.

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