When Chill Skybar first opened, the restaurant was downstairs and the bar was split over two floors, taking up both the inside space and the sensational, outdoor terrace. Much has changed.
The restaurant has been moved upstairs, to the 27th floor, and rebranded — it’s now called 27 Grill. The cuisine has undergone a makeover — the focus is now on grilled meat and seafood, with a particular emphasis on all things steak. While the extensive wine list mixing mid-range entry level wines with pricey vintages remains, the seating and tables have been replaced. The white tablecloths are gone. Instead it’s subtle lighting and a more casual experience, with yellows, maroons and browns making up the visual aperture.
That this restaurant and bar has been so open to transformation says much for the owners. They don’t rest on their laurels. There is a culture of improvement here, a desire and a need to simply make things better. And they’re prepared to spend money, too, which bodes well for longevity.
When I first ate at 27 Grill it had just opened. We were in a large group and had a set menu. I went for the steak, of course, and while my memory of the night was hazy — there was too much wine involved — I remember enjoying the meal and the general atmosphere.
This time round I once again opted for steak — there is a myriad of choices and cuts here. From Australian MSA Angus through to US Choice and the dear but beautifully tender and marbled grade 4 to 5 wagyu. I chose the 250g Australian ribeye (VND690,000).
The menu is nicely set up here — simple but effective. All starters cost VND175,000, regardless of ingredients, while the side dishes weigh in at VND65,000 each, irrespective of whether you opt for fries and aioli, macaroni-and-cheese or green asparagus. The desserts follow the same concept, too, at VND145,000 each. I was also greeted by a three-course special set menu going for VND1 million. Another welcome but simple option to choose from.
Straight-forwardness, it seems, runs through to the cuisine, too. As an entrée I opted for the rocket salad with sun-dried tomatoes and parmesan. Tossed lightly in balsamic vinegar and perhaps a touch of olive oil, this is one of those oh-so-easy salads that can be done badly. Here, thanks to the freshness of the ingredients, it was faultless. A nice support act for the star of the show, the steak.
The steak was truly a superstar — perfectly rare, sealed with what seemed to be either rock or sea salt, and bursting with taste. But the pepper sauce tasted slightly overcooked. Was it my palate? I wasn’t sure. Was it the red wine? I also wasn’t sure. But I was determined not to settle for second best.
This was a mere quibble on my part. Fortunately the two waiting staff dealt with the situation with great aplomb — a pleasure. This was international standard service.
There are only a few steak restaurants in this city that I would recommend. This is one of them.
Grill 27 is on Floor 27 of the AB Tower, 76A Le Lai, Q1, or on chillsaigon.com
Food, Decor and Service are each rated on a scale of 0 to 15.
13 — 15 extraordinary to perfection
10 — 12.5 very good to excellent
8 — 9.5 good to very good
5 — 7.5 fair to good
0 — 4.5 poor to fair
The Word reviews anonymously and pays for all meals