A new hole-in-the-wall venue, The Elephant, is a welcome addition to Phu My Hung drinking establishments. Review and photos by Brett Davis.
Living in the bubble that is Phu My Hung, there is sometimes a reluctance to leave for a night out in District 1 because you know it will involve a long and expensive cab ride. On the other hand, unless you are planning on an evening of Korean barbeque and soju, there are not a lot of options when it comes to watering holes.
There is always The Tavern, a local institution and popular spot for many, and now the owners of that venerable establishment have branched out with The Elephant on the other ‘side’ of Phu My Hung (residents of the area will know what I am talking about) near Saigon South International School.
It is a cosy affair here, with the feel, and dimensions, you would expect at a British taproom or small corner pub. However, there is generous seating on the front terrace which is also well positioned to catch a consistent breeze day or night.
The name The Elephant has some history behind it. The original name of The Tavern was La Taverna de Elephante, and tucked away on a shelf at the new location is the original sign bearing that name.
The lineup of drinks is compact but with something for everyone. Tiger draught is VND 38,000, which drops to VND 28,000 during the happy hour between 4pm and 7pm, Monday to Saturday. There are also half a dozen other local and imported beers available by the bottle.
A list of classic cocktails, including mojitos, margaritas and Long Island ice tea range from VND 90,000 to VND 110,000, and the house wine goes for only VND 55,000 per generous glass.
The Elephant is open early, and does a brisk breakfast trade. There is a simple menu of Vietnamese and Western breakfast staples, as well as a good line up of fresh juices and smoothies to start your day off in a healthy fashion (and perhaps recover from last night’s hangover).
From lunchtime until 11.30pm, the menu centres around a list of bar snacks and wraps. The crispy beer-battered aubergine and zucchini served with salad, hummus and tzatzki is well worth a try at only VND 75,000.
The lamb kabob wrap (VND 120,000) is a cracker and will remind many Australians of their favourite late-night sandwich coming as it does with lettuce, tomato, onion and tzatzki and skordalia sauce.
The pulled pork (VND 95,00) is superb value given the quality of the slow-cooked pork shoulder, while the bulgogi wrap (VND 115,000) has beef marinated in Asian spices combined with stir-fried veges for those wanting something a little more exotic.
On occasional Friday nights they also manage to squeeze some live music into the diminutive venue, making it a top option for those lazy District 7 drinkers who want to opt for a night out but still stay close to home.