The bubbles are the star at this revamped venue at Caravelle Saigon. Review and photos by Brett Davis.

Major hotels are often overlooked places when it comes to choosing a venue for a quiet drink and are often left to the tourists or business travelers lodging there. However, a facelift for Caravelle Saigon  could change some local minds.

Champagne Corner and Tapas Kitchen is located adjacent to the hotel’s Café de l’Opera, whose large windows looking out onto Lam Son Square and the Opera House offer a great vantage point to watch the world go by while sipping on your favourite tipple. There is also live music courtesy of a piano and vocal duo from 5pm Tuesday to Saturday.

The focus of the fare on offer, and what will be sure to attract plenty of attention from visitors and locals alike, is champagne and tapas. Bubbles come courtesy of the hotel’s partnership with Moet Hennessy and are on display in ‘Champagne Corner’, while the tapas is served up from the new open kitchen fronted by a broad marble bar with seating for patrons.

There are bottles of vintage and non-vintage champagne on the wine list, and a glass of Moet and Chandon Imperial goes for VND 540,000 (VND 570,000 for the rosé). At the top end, vintage offerings such as a Moet and Chandon Grand Vinatage (VND 3,060,000) or  Dom Perignon Rosé Vintage (VND 14,000,000) are definitely something for a very special occasion.

The non-vintage bottles, however, are a little more in the ‘everyday’ price range. These include a Moet and Chandon Imperial for VND 2,700,000, and progress up to the Veuve Clicquot Rosé at VND 3,220,000.Café de l’Opera’s champagne cocktails are both classic and quirky, and are all priced at VND 450,000. The French 75 blends Veuve Clicquot with gin and fresh lemon, while for something more adventurous you could go for the Volcano, a mix of Moet and Chandon and raspberry and blue curacao liqueurs.

The tapas on offer are not designed to be traditional Spanish fare, but rather embody the spirit of the form in that they are small tasting plates that are great for sharing. Oysters are, of course, a great accompaniment to champagne and Halong Bay oysters served on the shell are 260,000 for a half dozen and 500,000 for a dozen. The duck liver terrine canape on toasted brioche with fruit compote (228,000) is also a standout, as is the Parma ham and wild mushroom pizza (148,000).

Champagne Corner and Tapas Kitchen has much to recommend it for those looking for something a little special for their after-work drinks.

Caravelle Saigon
19 – 23 Lam Son Square, District 1
Tel: 08 3823 4999
7am till late