A welcoming restaurant with an eclectic menu of comfort food and a new cooking concept. By Michael Tatarski. Photos by Fred Wissink.

Located just down the street from the British International School, Evita Cafe has one of the warmest, most inviting interiors in town. Comfortable, colourful sofas and chairs abound, there is plenty of natural light, stacks of magazines await your perusal, and both a foosball and pool table are available.

The café’s extensive, wide-ranging menu features favourites from around the world. Everything from breakfast to sandwiches to pizza to pasta and rice dishes are available, and at very reasonable prices. A few examples include quiche, Greek salad, Mexican pizza, and apple strudel for dessert. Prices in all categories range from VND 70,000 to around VND 150,000.

More exciting than the standard menu, though, is the arrival of Belgian chef Nic Vanderbeeken, who is bringing a concept called bistronomy to Vietnam for the first time. Popular in Europe, bistronomy features dishes similar to those found in molecular gastronomy, but at more affordable prices. Vanderbeeken has created his own special menu for Evita, and it will become available this month.

We tried dishes from both menus, starting off with roasted salmon with potato gratin and vegetables (VND 160,000). The fresh salmon was perfectly cooked, with crispy skin and juicy, tender meat. I particularly enjoyed the flavourful potato gratin, which offered a heavy contrast to the light salmon.

Then, we moved onto the bistronomy menu, which doesn’t have set prices yet. First was the sea bass tartar with broccoli and olive couscous and black olive crumble. Vanderbeeken used a device to pour smoke from hazelnuts over the dish, which isn’t something I had seen before. The delicate sea bass was incredibly fresh and had a delightfully smooth taste. Having never heard of bistronomy before this meal I had no idea what to expect, but this was a good start.

Finally, for dessert we had the crème brulee, served in two small cups and lit on fire. We were told to let the flames burn for at least 30 seconds before digging in. This gave it a crunchy top layer that hid the creamy goodness below. By the time I finished, I already wanted to try more from the new menu. If you are looking for something that no other restaurant in the city has, plan a visit to Evita.

230 Nguyen Van Huong, D2
08 35 12 38 88
7am-11pm, seven days
Vascosgroup.com