Fresh sandwiches and New York-inspired decor. By Michael Tatarski. Photos by Fred Wissink.
Tucked down an alley across from 30/4 park, Central Parc Banh Mi is a compact restaurant that offers what it calls New York-style sandwiches. The layout is simple, with a few tables set up outside and stools lining a wooden counter that wraps around the interior. The casual atmosphere is similar to that of an American deli, not a standard sit-down restaurant.
Prints of the New Yorker magazine covers adorn the walls, and stacks of magazines are available for customers to peruse. Like Au Parc, its sister restaurant, Central Parc offers several types of sandwiches. The menu is broken into sections containing regular and whole wheat baguettes, wraps, focaccia, pain brioche and bagels. Prices range from VND 45,000 to VND 115,000, and the options vary from vegetarian to carnivorous.
We decided to start with the pink roast beef with paprika aioli potato salad (VND 90,000) on a whole wheat baguette. Roast beef is rare here in Ho Chi Minh City, and this is among the best available. Tender and succulent, the beef almost melts in your mouth, just like it should in a good deli sandwich. The potato salad added some zest, and we were off to a good start.
Then we split the slow cooked pulled pork with tri-coloured coleslaw on focaccia (VND 80,000). Light and fluffy, the focaccia is baked daily on the premises, along with all the other breads. The excellent coleslaw, a topping that is regularly bungled in Saigon, added a tangy kick. The pork, like the roast beef, was juicy, tender and full of flavour.
Finally the pan bagnat (VND 95,000) features tuna, tomato, red onion, hard-boiled egg, olives and basil with balsamic vinaigrette on a baguette. The shredded tuna was fresh, and the other ingredients worked to create a complex flavour. This sandwich would be great for a light meal.
Central Parc’s in-house bakery also makes bread, pasta, cookies and cakes, among other treats, that can be ordered 24 hours in advance. Prices vary widely, from VND 8,000 for a single focaccia bun to VND 750,000 for a cappuccino cheesecake for 10 people. Free delivery is available for Districts 1 and 3, with no minimum order.