Well-executed international dishes with fresh, local ingredients should help this new addition become a stalwart of the Saigon dining scene. By Michael Tatarski. Photos by Jonny Edbrooke.
La Mint by Danh, the same name behind the popular Quan Bui restaurants, is the newest arrival to Ngo Van Nam’s increasingly eclectic dining scene. Inside, the comfortable seating, relaxed music and vaulted ceiling create an elegant but casual ambience, perfect for a date or intimate meal with friends.
The impressive menu was crafted by British chef Eddie Hall. The concept, he says, is to use native ingredients for international dishes without veering too far into fusion fare. Hall hopes to create a selection from which anyone will be able to find an alluring dish, a feat which he appears to have already achieved.
A highlight of the menu is the breakfast and brunch selection, which is served all day. Pancakes such as the lemon and poppyseed, run from VND 79,000 – VND 99,000, as does the French toast, while mains like quail eggs with spinach and sun-blushed tomatoes go for VND 109,000 – VND 159,000.
The rest of the menu features a wide array of soups, appetizers, salads, mains and desserts, along with a healthy selection of wines, cocktails and spirits. We began with the seared tuna salad (VND 189,000), featuring serrano ham, avocado, purple onion, curly endive and fermented chilli dressing. The presentation of this dish is gorgeous, with fresh, colourful vegetables and pink tuna cooked perfectly rare. The dressing added a nice kick to the meaty fish and the portion was big enough to split.
Next was the pan-seared duck confit (VND 250,000) with a hearty helping of mushrooms, risotto, roasted pumpkin and red wine jus. Duck is a tricky bird to cook correctly but here it was done just right. The tender meat was full of flavour, while the other ingredients came together to create the best dish of the meal.
We also tried the bacon pot, an off-the-menu item that will hopefully be available soon. Egg, spinach and cherry tomatoes were cooked inside a cup of smoked bacon, creating the flavour profile of an excellent omelet.
Finally, we topped off an outstanding meal with chilled chocolate fondant with coconut ice cream (VND 99,000). Once again the presentation was beautiful and the chocolate was deliriously rich, which the ice cream helped to offset slightly. If chocolate is your thing then this dessert is an absolute must.
La Mint’s inspired international menu is a cut above much of the competition and should quickly make a name for itself. The restaurant also offers a buy-one-get-one cocktail happy hour from 5pm – 8pm every day.