We order dishes from both the extensive main menu that runs throughout the day and the more condensed evening-only dinner menu. Upon request our appetisers (taken from the latter) and mains arrive simultaneously and promptly. We start with the crispy spicy tuna sushi rolls and steak sashimi with sweet wasabi sauce.
Both are exquisite, and make the biggest and best impression of the night. The half dozen tuna rolls come encased in a soft, neutral-tasting batter that allows the freshness of the fish to really shine through, while the delicate, paper-thin beef carpaccio-style slices are cooked to a mouth wateringly perfect, medium-rare. Its natural flavour is beautiful, however, once dipped in the accompanying dark wasabi infused liquid, this dish becomes immense, enlivening the nostrils with a potent yet enjoyable fiery rush.
Our mains consist of beef goulash and a croque madame. While warm, thick and hearty, I find the former’s beef a tad too chewy. Served with rice to provide an Asian twist on this European staple, the sauce is rich and the mixed peppers possess the right amount of crunch, however, for me, this dish lacks the wow factor of the appetisers. It’s good, but not exceptional.
Likewise, the French-style sandwich, served with delicious golden thin cut French fries, has a lot going for it, from the wonderfully fresh-tasting salad and vegetable filling and lightly toasted bread to the deliciously creamy yolk of the fried egg. However, the lack of the advertised béchamel sauce (a vital component) stops this sandwich from achieving true greatness.
That said, the desserts are spectacular. Served in a martini glass, the affogato (Italian for “drowned”) is a coffee-based beverage with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with a shot of hot espresso. It’s strong yet silky and should be an instant hit with coffee lovers. Now, the following assertion may be met with scepticism, but Zest’s chocolate fudge brownie could easily be the best in town. Its dense consistency and almost pudding-soft texture is neither too rich nor too sweet and it literally melts in your mouth. The portion isn’t large, but as the saying goes “keep them wanting more”.
Tuna rolls VND88,000
Steak sashimi VND105,000
Beef goulash VND125,000
Croque madame VND88,000
Chocolate fudge brownie VND66,000
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
Word reviews anonymously and pays for all meals