A Saigon stalwart gets a new lease on life with a recent menu make-over. By Claudia Davaar Lambie. Photos by Jonny Edbrooke.
Though The Boat House is something of a tried and true Saigon haunt, new managers Jeff and Maggi Puchalski have reignited my love for this peaceful District 2 spot with a brand-new menu. When I arrived I could feel the buzz of the atmosphere tempered by a chilled out ethos, thanks to its riverside location.
The menu has been revamped and now includes a mix of family-style meals. Mexican features predominantly, followed by some Italian and Asian fare. Notably, fresh fish bought locally such as salmon, swordfish and Mahi-mahi are present on the menu in various dishes. The entrée of blackened red snapper (VND 235,000) served with an avocado and mango salad and vegetable medley is worth trying.
First up was the homemade nachos carnitas (VND 225,000), complete with amazingly tasty slow-cooked pork, refried beans, black olives and jalapeños topped with two types of cheddar cheese. These moreish treats were served with dollops of guacamole, sour cream and a pair of salsas on the side, just to mix things up. The first was fresh and zingy salsa, the second a spicy, smoked chipotle. The sauces complemented the meals very well. This thoughtful process in the cooking added another dimension to the meal and Jeff prided himself on the fact that all of the accompaniments and dressings were homemade. I asked Jeff what the secret ingredient was in the heavenly buffalo sauce for the chicken wings (VND 1350,000 – 400,000). He answered jokingly: “Just chicken and butter,” not wanting to give anything more away.
The food kept on coming. I sampled the mini fish (VND 185,000) and beef sliders (VND 195,000); the fillings sandwiched by the softest buns I’ve ever tasted. The pièce de resistance has to be the tacos (VND 55,000 – 95,000). There is the option of fish, beef or pork. Blackened Mahi-mahi topped with avocado were just delicious and alternatively the fish can be served beer-battered. There was a delicate balance between the crunch of the taco and the cabbage with the softness of the preferred meat and toppings. If I hadn’t been so stuffed I would have asked for some more.
Chocolate lava cake with oozy goodness bursting out served with caramel sauce (VND 135,000) was the finishing touch. Washing down my meal with a couple of the signature frozen Margarita cocktails (VND 125,000) definitely took the edge off of my two hours of gorging.
The Boat House is available for online delivery from 1 July, 2015.
40 Lily Road, 36 Thao Dien, D2
Tel: 08 37 446 790
Open 8am – 11pm