From dining to décor, cuisine to cocktails, this District 1 eatery is the complete package. By Dana Filek-Gibson. Photos by Vinh Dao.
Shoulder-to-shoulder with street carts and repair shops, the pristine entrance of Saigon’s Lookout seems to have escaped the gritty sheen that covers most exteriors in the city. But even in its ultra-clean splendour, Ky Con’s newest dining venue doesn’t intrude upon the quintessential Saigon street scene: sophisticated, smart but not so grandiose as to forget its roots.
The same can be said of the Lookout’s menu (VND 90,000 – VND 350,000). Since its soft opening in February, the restaurant has honed in on creations that emphasise local produce alongside imported meats, complementing Vietnamese cuisine with culinary techniques from both home and abroad.
An incredible, hour-long feast from the lunch menu began with shots – of rich, flavourful Tom Yam bisque, complete with shiitake mushroom and a tiny prawn tortellini. Bearing that trademark Thai kick, the soup went down quickly and alerted our taste buds to the impending meal.
If, however, there is one starter that’s not to be missed, it’s the corn cakes. Served on a bed of grilled eggplant spread and minced pork, these lightly fried, bite-sized morsels are delicious on their own but, once again, an unusual combination of textures and tastes is what sends this dish from good to great.
For something more substantial, the mini burger trio is the go-to dish, with a dash of creativity infused into this simple meal. Pork, squid and chicken patties pair beautifully with their accompanying sauces, which range from subtly sweet to boldly spicy. Prepare to be pleasantly surprised by the squid burgers which, while unorthodox, are a hit. The bowl of signature french fries – topped with parmesan and coriander – also disappears quickly.
Dinnertime affords a different but equally outstanding menu, including a seared sous vide beef tenderloin with potato mousseline, pepper eider and tamarind beef jus that is unbelievably tender and flavourful. The poached sea bass is a worthy alternative, served on a bed of creamy guise leaf and brown rice with lightly fried pumpkin flowers.
Beyond food, Saigon’s Lookout shows the same care and consideration in its bar menu, with innovative signature cocktails that range from the refreshing Dragon Chill to the smooth but surprising Lychee Chilli Tini. Whether you’re just popping in for a drink at the beautiful U-shaped bar or planning to sit down to a fine dining meal in a casual setting, its unique take and impeccable food make Saigon’s Lookout a must-try.