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Friday, February 24, 2012

Bobby Chinn - Saigon

Another new player in the ever increasing food scene here in HCMC is Bobby Chinn.  I must admit I had not heard of him before his restaurant opened here but Google tells me he is a highly regarded Californian native who has his own cooking series on the Discovery Channel.  He lives and travels in Asia and his food has been described by the Asian Wall Street Journal as "the best Californian cuisine outside of California".  I had my reservations (pun intended) about going.  Firstly, we live in Vietnam and I really should be eating at Vietnamese restaurants and supporting the country in that respect.  I then had a think about it and came to the conclusion that if Vietnam is going to thrive it needs to get the tourist dollar in and if that means swanky restaurants that would not be out of place in New York or Paris then so be it.  It is not for everyone but if it caters to those who are spending their tourist dollar in Vietnam then surely it is a win/win.  My second hesitation was I had heard rumours about what "type" of person Bobby likes to have in the restaurant and "suggested dress code" and the like.  This rings big warning bells for me as pretentious restaurants make both Nick and I highly uncomfortable.  Thankfully, I can report that these are mainly attributed to Mr Chinns sense of humour (perhaps with an edge of truth).  So,  we decided to take the plunge, which is an apt way to describe it as we were celebrating doing the same thing (taking the plunge) 14 years ago.  Happy anniversary babe!
We actually started the evening with some rooftop cocktails at the Saigon Saigon bar at the Caravelle.  We had first gone to the new  Chill Bar near the New World Hotel but outside was closed due to rain (Don't get me started...thats another story)

After some drinks we made it to Kuhmo for our 8.00pm reservation.  I had made my reservation on line and mentioned that it was our wedding anniversary.  I then went into a bit of a panic realising I should have kept my mouth shut, shuddering at the thought of a group of waiters singing a corny anniversary song around the table.  Thank goodness it was not to be.  Instead we were greeted as we came in the door with a discreet "Happy Anniversary" and led to a beautiful romantic table pictured above.  They then drew the curtains around us and our romantic night was in full swing.  Come to think of it....maybe I was not dressed according to the dress code and they were trying to hide me?

OK, lets get this one out of the way straight away.  It's expensive.  Not just expensive by the old Vietnamese "I could eat for a week for $20" kind of way, expensive in the "I feel like I am back in Melbourne" kind of way.

It wouldn't be a celebration without bubbles.

These should give you an indication of some prices and what is on offer.

The food was great!

I know I SHOULD have gone for "I'm on a diet" but I could not resist.

And lucky I didn't as these were placed before us.  What a lovely touch.

So all in all we really enjoyed our night out.  For us it would only be a special occasion kind of place.  There was a different more open dining area toward the front of the restaurant and I am sure if you dined there you would probably have a different dining experience than the one we had.  For us, it was perfect for what we were looking for.

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