A tasteful makeover makes Hideaway Cafe worthy of its popular European menu. By Ruben Luong. Photos by Sarah Joanne Smith.

Nowadays dining at Hideaway Café on Pham Ngoc Thach Street can trigger a bit of a double-take.

What was once an old-fashioned and terracotta-laden French den is now a refined and cosmopolitan French bistro. Downstairs is a mod bar area lined in retro bottles. Upstairs, mirrored facades and French grey walls frame the windows of the villa so that natural light spotlights the vintage posters and communal oak tables.

Hideaway certainly lives up to its name but this bold and much-needed upgrade is very pleasant and professional, tailored for quiet business lunch dates that require a little flair and plenty of substance.

It’s a relief that the interior is now on par with the café’s primary menu, preserved for its Pacific Rim flavours and European favourites (VND 110,000 -395,000) that are also MSG-free. Somehow the food tastes even better in the new surroundings.

Decadent pancakes with fresh fruit and maple syrup (VND 60,000) for breakfast seem more wholesome over earthy wooden tables. Three pancakes stacked on square plates are fluffy and comforting next to refreshing bowls of fruit powdered in light sugar.

Breakfast in fact is served all day so it’s something to be appreciated as often as possible. There’s a renewed farm-to-table deliciousness in the full English breakfast (VND 120,000), which is not overly greasy and ample in eggs, toast, mushrooms, bacon and roasted tomatoes dusted in herbs.

Offsetting hunter-green-walled booths, a colourful plate of pasta with steak and vegetables (VND 150,000) radiates with a medley of cherry tomatoes, mangetout and spinach leaves that blanket a heap of thin spaghetti. Overall it’s light and garden fresh, despite the generous morsels of peppery steak buried within.

If you’re vegetarian however, the grilled goat cheese with rocket, pine nut and cous-cous (VND 140,000) is a moreish selection off Hideaway’s popular vegetarian menu. Crispy bread crumbs are delectable with warm and creamy dollops of goat cheese.

So often Hideaway can be overlooked because of its seclusion, but indulging in its new look and cherished cuisine, we’re inclined to believe it will only be more memorable moving foward.

41/1 Pham Ngoc Thach, D3
Open from 7.30am-11pm
Tel: 08 38 22 42 22
www.Hideawaycafe-saigon.com