The food scene in Ho Chi Minh City is as delicious as it gets, but also as diverse as a foodie’s dreams. One day we wanted a break from the street vendors and turned to one of the best fine-dining restaurants in HCMC. That was when we entered a must-try place to eat in Ho Chi Minh, named the Lý Club Saigon. It is known for French influences, which are presented in many ways. What ways of the force? Let’s explore each one in this Lý Club Saigon review.
- About the Lý Club Saigon
- Lý Club Saigon Menu
- Our Review
- Lý Club Saigon Review Card
- Final Thought
- Price and Location
About the Lý Club Saigon
For about 15 years the Lý Club Saigon restaurant is polishing a French turn on Vietnamese cuisine. Well, the French touch is not only present on tables, but also around them. The refined style honors hedonism in a lovely way and connects the past to the present. For example, the Lý stands for the Lý Dynasty which ruled, what we now know as the Northern part of Vietnam, back in the 11th century. A connection is celebrated through the civic evolution that happened under their rein.
Before we stepped into the courtyard, we felt the connection to the Macalister Mansion. Mostly due to the white walls and greenery placed around the water. Most prominent must be the outdoor bar with a large al fresco dining area. In the middle of it is the aquatic feature looking like a pool, but we didn’t check its depth. Instead, we asked for a table inside the lounge area of the French Colonial Villa, where we appreciated piano music with AC. Of course, we liked the curved arches and opposing color scheme. Given that the space brightens up from the dark ground onto the white ceiling, it feels spacious and intimate at the same time. On offer are also private dining rooms with a reservation.
Lý Club Saigon Menu
Guests can choose between ala card dishes and more than one of their famous tasting menus, featuring a mix of favorites, classics, and innovative dishes. Besides food, mixed drinks have special attention and are an experience on their own. In addition to cocktails and mocktails, you’ll find hefty spirits and light refreshments on the drink menu as well.
The Passionate Mocktail
One can say that the essence of refreshment is a thirst-quenching quality, something like that happened almost instantly after tasting the Passionate. It could be on account of coconut water with well-known hydrating properties. Although, we bet on the invigorating contribution of passionfruit and kumquat. Together it formed an irresistible combination of sweet and sour outbursts we kept returning to.
Our feast at the Lý Club took off with a proper fish ball and relish on the side. Best of all was the presence of actual fish in a ball with balanced seasonings. The lift came from the minute pickles and fresh chili on the side.
Crab & Pumpkin Soup
Pumpkin soup served inside a pumpkin not only looks gorgeous but also keeps it warm longer. Then it also makes it easy to scoop the desired amount of pumpkin meat with every mouthful. That came especially handy with succulent crab meat. The soup itself tasted pleasingly sweet with freshness coming from lime, lemongrass, ginger, and mushrooms. Later we added strings of fresh mint and coriander to our taste.
Birds Nest Soup in Coconut
The smell of coconut seduced us in a second and boosted our confidence to try something new. Very quickly we forgot about the birds’ spit when making the nest and rather focused on its prized qualities. After all, the bird’s nest soup has a long culinary presence (especially in China) and is praised for its nourishing qualities. Chef considered gentle flavors and seasoned the soup mildly so the gelatinous nest was able to shine through. In the end, we thoroughly enjoyed this invigorating soup.
Crayfish with Asian Greens
Celebrating Mekong crayfish by perfectly steaming it in its juices was just flawless. So much so that juicy meat coupled with chili and scallion vinegarette could be easily eaten on its own. Although fresh young greens added extra crunch, cherry tomatoes connected all the dots in a well-balanced whole.
Empty rice paper cones were waiting for us to fill them with neatly cut fresh vegetables and tender fish flakes. To be specific the seabass was meticulously seasoned with onion, galangal, and chili. On the side, we got delicious peanut dip that featured sweet and sour notes.
Grilled Shrimp Paste
When sweetness is in the center we’re all up for it. On this plate, it was undeniably savory sweetness coming in a combination of grilled shrimp paste on a sugarcane skewer and carrot pickle. Intriguing refreshment came from a tulsi, the holy basil. Furthermore, the dulce union grew stronger with the addition of rice vermicelli topped with scallions. Of course, we must mention the sweet and sour dip on the side.
Cartilage? Yes, the pleasurably satisfying gristle. Well-seasoned with garlic, chili, and lemongrass, while salt roasting. Salt is so gobsmacking delicious and crunch is so playful that we couldn’t stop giggling.
Snowfish with Vegetables and Mushrooms
We loved a firm bite in the middle of asparagus grown in the Da Lat region. Al dente were also finely julienned carrots with chives flowers, seared in oyster sauce. The textural party grew bigger with steamed mushrooms and pan-seared snow fish. Anyways, this wasn’t some sort of a masquerade party, but a celebration of the ingredients’ original essence.
To some degree, we expected more from desserts, although there is plenty to be excited about in traditional Vietnamese desserts. In the first place, we enjoyed the sticky texture of coconut and taro cakes. Each piece came with toothsome roasted coconut flakes in the middle and a lingering sweet aftertaste. Later, we loved the aromatic lychee compote even more. It cleaned our pallets and left us with a fragrant aftertaste.
Lý Club Saigon Review Card
- ATMOSPHERE – 8.2/108.2/10
- SERVICE – 8.5/108.5/10
- PRESENTATION – 8.2/108.2/10
- FOOD – 9.0/109.0/10
- DRINKS – 9.5/109.5/10
- VALUE – 9.0/109.0/10
Lý Club Saigon went through a process of refining and perfecting its menu recently. Therefore, expect different-looking dishes, especially desserts. Even though the plating wasn’t as polished as it is now, the taste was spot on. True, some plates were relatively straightforward, leaving Chef with little hiding room. Actually, we were treated to masterfully handled ingredients that together formed the classic harmony one can’t get enough of.
Price and Location
The degustation menu at Lý Club Saigon varies in price and will cost you around 80 USD. Here is a link to the location for easier navigation.