The Loop with comfortable European ambience and a health-conscious menu. By Michael Tatarski. Photos by Fred Wissink.
Owner Eckart Dutz says The Loop is meant to be like a piece of home — which in his case is Germany. The compact, well-lit interior is fitted with slick European furniture, some of which you won’t find anywhere else in Vietnam. The floors, a mix of slate and wood, are spotless, emitting a sense of northern European efficiency in design. This doesn’t mean the chairs aren’t comfortable though, and The Loop’s bistro-like atmosphere makes it a good place to spend an afternoon reading or working. There is outdoor seating as well, which will be nice once the wet season ends.
As for the food, local suppliers are used as much as possible, including Harvest Bakery and Pizza 4P’s. The menu focuses on healthy alternatives to the usual dishes found in restaurants here. The name The Loop is taken from the road that circles Thao Dien, a popular route for runners and cyclists. With its early opening hours the restaurant draws regular crowds of post-workout diners, and there is plenty to attract them.
The options, which will be expanded in the near future, include standard breakfast dishes as well as bagel sandwiches and smears (VND 25,000 to VND 140,000), paninis and sandwiches (VND 100,000 to VND 150,000), and salads (VND 100,000 to VND 220,000). There is a set business lunch that changes every day, homemade desserts and a wide range of drink choices are also available. Coffee is a focal point at The Loop, and all of it is imported from Hausbrandt, an Italian company. Dutz says his is the first restaurant in the country to sell this coffee.
We sampled a variety of dishes, beginning with the chicken chipotle panini (VND 119,000), which includes tomato, bacon, cheddar and chipotle mayo served between bread from Harvest. Every bite delivered a satisfying crunch from the crispy bread, and the sauce provided an excellent spicy kick.
Next was the savoury combo (VND 119,000), a serving of ham, Danish salami, parma ham and two slices each of dark and white bread. The meat was fresh and flavourful and the bread excellent. This would be a great dish to share with a friend.
Finally we split a Gravlax bagel (VND 139,000), a breakfast sandwich with egg, salmon, red onion and spicy dill smear. For a huge bagel fan this didn’t disappoint. If you are in need of good motivation for exercise, a post-workout meal at The Loop may be just what you’re looking for.