Even though it’s only been open for three months, Indika has already become a strong presence on the Saigon evening social scene. It features a packed weekly line-up of events and live music, and offers up a sanctuary on the outskirts of the city centre in Da Kao.
In the last month, it has been opening its doors at 9am daily to offer customers a place to work and chill throughout the day. The walls are covered in intricate murals and there are unusual statues, and a mannequin outside. Every time you visit, the layout may have changed, even from one day to the next, but the chilled-out atmosphere is a guaranteed constant.
“We wanted to have a space where [Saigon Dub Station] would enjoy hanging out, where we could work, and enjoy the atmosphere. It helps that other people are enjoying it too,” says Morgan Mugnier, one of the three founding partners of Indika.
Indika is not just a bar or café, but a combination of a friend’s house, restaurant and office. Arriving there for the first time can feel almost intrusive, like you’ve walked into someone else’s place, but it is soon apparent that anyone is welcome.
Indika is a young project, but has had a full team of motivated people behind it from the beginning. Starting in March 2016, the team managed to find and prepare the venue for a soft opening in less than three months. Now, they are preparing for their grand opening in November.
“We’re still making changes and renovating the space, we’re going to build a custom stage inside and expand the space further back. There is even going to be a shop,” says Morgan.
The weekly rundown of events includes the Wednesday acoustic jam, Friday free-flow on draught beer (VND200,000 from 8pm to 10.30pm), Saturday live performances from local and international artists, and Sunday chill sessions to deal with the hangover. Indika is also home to some of the best parties in town, the nicest place to work if you don’t have a set office, and a welcoming scene for all who find themselves different from the norm.
“After so long in Saigon, we now have our own space, that we’ve created for ourselves, in our own style,” says Morgan.
The recently launched food menu is still being tested for the entire month of October with discounts on the majority of dishes. This will help the staff to get feedback from their customers before the formal launch. They have also partnered with the Vietnamese restaurant next door, Coquelicot, to serve a daily lunch of a variety of local foods.
Indika’s food and drinks menus have been designed with a focus on health, and though they don’t shy away from the ample amounts of craft beer available in Saigon, they also offer a range of healthy juices as well. The Green Drink (VND50,000) is an exotic blend of apple, cucumber, celery, lime, ginger and basil, and tastes like it is making you healthier from the inside out.
Their cocktails are cheap, cheerful and pack a punch. The house mojito (VND100,000) is served up in a glass mug and is a blend of sugar, rum and mint. The remote worker’s favourite, ca phe sua da (VND30,000), is productivity in a cup and not too sweet, a cool drink for writing emails and watching the world go by.
Whatever you’re looking for, you are bound to find something to your liking at Indika; come for the chilled music, great atmosphere and refreshing drinks, stay for the board games, enthralling events and the friends you are likely to make.
Indika is at 41 Nguyen Van Giai, Q1, HCMC