Jess Warren checks out the new menu at an old favourite, Boat House Thao Dien. Photos by Jonny Edbrooke.

The Boathouse, already an institution among Ho Chi Minh City’s expat community, has turned its crowd-pleasing up a notch with a dynamic new menu.

For 11 years now, the riverside restaurant has been a popular spot for breakfast, brunch, dinner, coffee or a few quiet ales.

Consulting Chef Logan Thomas Hester and Chef Luu has kept The Boathouse’s “something for everyone” style, but whittled the menu down, keeping the favourites and adding new dishes, including a range of vegetarian options.

As well as a new menu, new General Manager Adam Schofield has been working on The Boathouse’s overall look, with new bar and decor, including a new tap room for craft beers.

The AsiaLIFE team decided to check out the restyling from a prime position under an umbrella on the deck.

From the vegetarian menu, we sampled the Barbacoa Tacos, (VND85,000), where the jackfruit created an almost meat-like texture, and the warm depth of flavour accompanied with a drizzle of fresh lime livened the dish. We also tried the Cauliflower Po-Boy (VND175,000), a substantial serving of perfectly spiced cauliflower surrounded by delicious salad in a crunchy roll.

On the meat front, the Crab Cake Poppers, (VND185,000), were an immediate favourite, delicate crab meat encased in golden fried goodness and served with a tangy dipping sauce. It’s a good-sized portion for a shared starter, although it’s possible you won’t want to share these.

The Satay Platter, (VND285,000), came as a huge bowl of skewered chicken, steak, prawn, and vegetables, served with a cashew dipping sauce. This colourful and perfectly cooked bowl was made for sharing. If you’re a fan of wings, you’ll want to order half a dozen classic chicken wings with Bourbon Barbeque Sauce, (VND130,000). A rich, tangy sauce with a warm depth of flavour and a bit of spice, these wings go down a treat.

As with any meal, the drinks must not be forgotten and we were certainly treated to a variety of cocktails. The Mocha Martini, (VND155,000), was a smooth classic, and beautifully presented. Whereas the Watermelon Agua Fresca, (VND145,000), was a refreshing twist of rum and fruit, that could trick you into thinking the drink was healthy. The Gin and Ginger cocktail (VND135,000), was perfectly spiced with ginger ale, making it a cool yet fiery drink, suitable for all gin lovers out there. Finally, the Frozen Transfusion, (VND135,000) was a light, fruity, grape juice cocktail spiced with ginger and vodka.

During happy hour, from 3pm to 7pm, all cocktails are VND100,000, a carafe of house wine is VND200,000 and a Tiger draft is VND40,000.

With a relaxed atmosphere and easy to share menu, it is obvious why many choose this riverside location to step away from the busy streets of Saigon for a few hours. This popular spot for sociable dining has only managed to improve upon itself once again.   

40 Lily, APSC Luxury Villa Compound, 36 Thao Dien Road, Thao Dien Ward, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City