Buddies and Meals

Nice coffee, nice meals and nice dwell music—Lêla Saigon has one thing for everybody

The Vietnamese expression “lê la” is finest translated “to go someplace and hang around with mates.” However for its new namesake within the coronary heart of Pham Ngu Lao in District 1, a extra apt description is likely to be “one thing for everybody.” Serving espresso 10am, effective eating till 11pm, and dwell music and cocktails till 1am, there’s at all times one thing occurring at Lêla Saigon (138 Le Lai, D1).

Lêla Saigon is the mixed imaginative and prescient of its two founders: the chef and restauranteur behind Saigon Grill and Ngoc Chau, and a neighborhood artist and drummer with a love of vintage-retro fashion. These two influences, like yin and yang, shine by way of at each flip. The bottom flooring hosts the efficiency stage and a bar serving snacks, the eating room on the primary flooring is a quieter ambiance serving each Vietnamese and Western favorites.

An ideal night time begins with a fantastic cocktail. Attempt the signature Lela Mojito or a Tiki Taka (each VND150,000) whilst you drink within the decor on this post-modern mashup. The primary-floor eating space is a spacious, breezy balcony adorned by traditional artworks, up to date to suit the speakeasy theme (suppose geisha lady with AK-47). Tables are damaged up by full-size bushes and, by some means, a re-modeled traditional automotive. On the far finish, a row of tables appears over Pham Ngu Lao park, and there’s a pool desk within the again subsequent to the bar.

The Western menu consists of such favorites as Deep-Fried Calamari and Onion Rings (VND80,000), Fried Hen Wings in Garlic (VND149,000) and Smoked Pork Rib & Fried Potato (VND195,000). The non-adventurous visitor will likely be greater than happy with these bar favorites, delivered sizzling and quick and ideal with a draft beer or signature cocktail. The shows are fashionable and thought of, with colourful garnishes and Vietnamese-inspired dipping sauces, and the chef spares no expense sourcing recent meat and seafood.

For the these keen on native delicacies, the chef behind Saigon Grill has compiled an intensive menu of Vietnamese favorites with ample parts, pretty shows and inventive twists.

To start out issues off, don’t miss the Salmon and Apple Salad (VND80,000), which is available in 4 small tins, every with a chew of crispy-seared salmon on a mattress of recent fruits in a tart juice—a crispy begin and a clear end. Observe this with the Shrimp Crab Spring Rolls with Herbs and Sticky Noodles (VND195,000). For the uninitiated, this dish does require meeting: seize a chunk of recent lettuce, load it with rice noodles, some native herbs and a sizzling, crispy fried spring roll, wrap served superbly in a pair of baskets and does justice to the well-loved conventional dish.

In your major course, the Mushroom Stuffed Hen Breast with Black Pepper Sauce (VND150,000) comes on the chef ’s advice. Served on a mattress of steamed greens and doused in a well-seasoned cream sauce, there will likely be greater than sufficient for everybody to strive a chew, even after you’ve had your fill.

After dinner, head downstairs the place the celebration is simply starting. Rock ‘n Roll favorites from the ‘60s and ‘70s are cranked out nightly by the home band and different native acts (and once in a while, I’m instructed, by the co-founder himself). A full bar and a wide array of craft beer on faucet will preserve your spirits excessive, and the inflow of foot site visitors from Pham Ngu Lao Park will preserve the dialog recent. The bottom flooring is each air-conditioned and well-ventilated, so people who smoke and non-smokers are free to mingle with out breaking a sweat. With loads of room for sitting, standing, dancing or no matter else you’re within the temper for, Le La retains the celebration going till late each night time of the week.

Lêla Saigon has struck a mighty chord since their re-opening in February of this yr. This open-air oasis on the town’s liveliest hall provides espresso and breakfast within the morning, effective eating from a famend native chef within the night, and dwell music welcoming visitors from all over the world nightly. So the following time you’re within the temper to lê la, you already know the place to go.


Photographs by Vy Lam and Lêla Saigon