Rooftop barbecue that provides great food and even more impressive views. Review by Brett Davis. Photos by Romain Garrigue and Vinh Dao.
Atmosphere is an element that can sometimes be overlooked in restaurants. This is not the case at Saigon Grill, where the breezy rooftop location and countryside feel make for an extremely pleasant dining experience.
On the eighth and highest level of an office tower on Pasteur Street, the venue is very centrally located and has sweeping views across the city. ‘Sweeping’ is not a trite adjective in this case, as the restaurant occupies an open rooftop with a central kitchen built in the style of a timber pagoda.
Adding to the theme are a scattering of tables among large pots of living bamboo and here and there are what the manager of Saigon Grill refers to as ‘roomlets’. Specially designed for the space, these are small hut-like structures seating 10 people that have retractable roofs and folding doors so you can enjoy your barbecue in all weather.
The concept would be familiar to many, with the main game cooking your own food on a grill at the centre of your table. However, at Saigon Grill they use a next-generation grill that is not recessed into the table but rather a free-standing model that is insulated on the outside by a remarkably heat-resistant material.
Food is ordered by the plate, with items like vegetables going for VND 45,000 per plate, while meat and seafood is VND 95,000 for a small plate and VND 145,000 for a large portion.
For the veggies there is a selection including okra, pumpkin and marinated eggplant as well as a mushroom plate with a variety of fungi. For meat there are such delicacies to choose from such as ostrich and crocodile in addition to the staples of beef, pork and chicken. If you feel like mixing it up you can also opt for an assortment of skewers of mixed meat and vegetables for the same price per plate.
When it comes to seafood there is Alaskan salmon, shrimp and clams to start. However the octopus, when nicely charred on the grill, is a particular standout. There are also four hotpot choices (VND 205,000) to provide some lighter contrast after all the flame grilling.
But the best part about Saigon Grill is the aforementioned atmosphere. It feels like you are having a private barbecue at your own really cool rooftop terrace. This feeling, great food and a truly fantastic view of Saigon’s skyline make it a place to keep coming back to.