Mum's meat pie

With the countless selection of eateries Ho Chi Minh City has to offer sometimes one craves the comfortable rather than the chic, the exotic or street food. And what whispers ‘comfy’ as confidently as a British-style pub? With its warm, pastel red walls, dark wood tables and high tops, and a generous helping of football banners (we’re talking soccer, here), The Tavern fits the bill.

 

First opened eight years ago, The Tavern’s current incarnation is located at R2-24 Hung Gia 3 in Phu My Hung. Happy hour is 3pm to 7pm, and a roomy upstairs club house is home to their darts team. There are TVs for your sports viewing pleasure, and a large projection screen for the big events. Patrons may opt to dine outside on the patio if they prefer.

 

The fare on the menu is predictably, and comfortably, British. Everything from bangers and mash, chops and steaks, to burgers and bar food is available. There is a selection of Asian cuisine as well. The only thing missing was an option for dessert. Menu prices range from VND60,000 for some bar appetisers to VND200,000 for a steak. Daily food and drink specials are on the blackboard.

 

On our visit we started with the potato skins, always a great opener. You get a half a dozen or so that come with a twist. Instead of the traditional potato skin that is hollowed out and filled with cheese, scallions and bacon bits, The Tavern serves up mashed potato wedges draped in a cheese blanket with the bits of bacon and scallion wrapped up in it. A side of sour cream sauce accompanies them instead of the thicker version to which most of us are accustomed. Admittedly, this was a surprise, but not an unwelcome one. The only knock on the skins was that they were brought to the table after our dinner had arrived.

 

The rest of the meal went according to plan. Mum’s meat pie was a concoction of diced steak, cheese, carrots, peas, mashed potatoes and gravy housed in a baked butter puff pastry. It’s a generous portion of fresh ingredients whose presentation will surely capture your attention. The meat pie tastes authentically British and is not only filling, but it also fluffs up a pillow under your head and tucks you into bed at night.

 

No visit to a British-themed pub to assess its authenticity is complete without sampling their fish and chips. The restaurant serves two circular basa fish fillets in a batter that will delight even the staunchest fans of North Atlantic cod. There is a loud and proper crunch when you dig into the fillets with a fork, until the malt vinegar soaking over from the chips starts to go to work on them, that is. And what good is the fish without the chips? A large heap of thick, steak cut fries were spot on.

 

All-in-all The Tavern is a great local spot. The atmosphere is warm and inviting and the staff is both friendly and accommodating. However, their service needs to be tweaked a bit to ensure better timing for the service of starters, main courses and drinks. Regardless, anyone wishing for a casual night out is sure to be pleased dining here.

 

The Prices

Potato Skins - VND70,000

Mum’s Meat Pie - VND120,000

Fish & Chips - VND110,000

 

Rating

Food: 9.5

Atmosphere : 8.5

Service: 5

 

Review Information

 

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

Mystery Diner

The Mystery Diner is a person hailing from a country that may or may not be Vietnam. S/he can be seen frequently in the restaurants and cafes of Hanoi and HCMC, searching for the most delicious meals each city has to offer. Look for the masked figure in a cape, lurking in the darkest corners of your neighbourhood com tam or pho joint.

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