Elijah Ferrian visits the brand new Asian fusion kitchen in Thao Dien, Phat’s Dumpling House, a new concept from the team that brought us Relish & Sons. Photos by Vinh Dao.
Chris Donnella and company are no strangers to dazzling Saigon with their fresh restaurant concepts. Their new kid on Thao Dien’s ever-improving Xuan Thuy block, Phat’s Dumpling House, is no exception.
“I’ve been cooking Asian cuisine for quite a while now,” Donella explains. “We took flavours from all over Asia that we wanted to showcase, and packaged them into contemporary, fun, small sized bites of food. Hot. Sweet. Salty. Sour.”
The menu is designed for a quick, highly executed culinary pitstop for those wanting their fix of creatively-styled Asian dishes, but don’t want to travel outside of District 2. Most people are in and out of the quaint establishment in around 30 minutes, allowing for a high turnover that keeps the kitchen busy, and the dishes piping hot and fresh. A wide variety of signature dishes matches the traditional selections.
Let’s get into it. Crispy duck leg wontons in a Thai red curry sauce (VND55,000) were a perfect example of the ideal simplicity that Phat’s pivots from. Fried, rich and mouth-watering, slow braised duck leg filling is the perfect starter to get the appetite going.
Spicy Sichuan pork noodles (VND70,000) had us nodding in ecstatic glee. The spiced chicken broth made fresh daily with cinnamon, star anise, clove, ginger, garlic, carrot, and celery was a perfect compliment to the fiery minced pork.
In addition to a gang of fantastic protein-laden noodle and dumpling soups, the menu showcases some great vegetarian dishes like the broccoli and oyster sauce with garlic and ginger (VND40,000), and roasted eggplant with white miso, black and white sesame, and fried garlic (VND30,000).
Bao; my heart you have. Soy glazed chicken bao with kimchi and a sharp wasabi mayo (VND30,000) will have most marking this spot as a weekly sit down. With all the baozi sitting at VND35,000 or less, Thao Dien residents should rejoice in these perfect little steamed bun sandwiches finally landing a home in their neck of the woods.
With the team that led Stoker and Racha Room’s great cocktail programmes, diners can enjoy a select list of cocktails, including an uber-refreshing Phat’s Punch (VND100,000) consisting of dark rum, passion fruit, lime and ginger. Beer, house wine, chilled sake, and fresh juices round out a pretty stellar beverage selection, packing the menu tightly with any option imaginable.
This place is humming. For good reason. Show up to Phat’s Dumpling House with the expectation of a full house. It’s small, gets jam-packed, but with all of the great stuff happening in this part of District 2, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to snag a quick bite in between hopping home, or on the way to your next destination.