The fine-dining menu is split between Asian and Western cuisine, with pricing more aligned with what we’re used to in the West. Though, even by these standards this is not for the fainthearted. A glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc set us back VND200,000, or about a week’s worth of banh mi op la — if that was all you were eating. But as they say in Vietnamese, tien nao cua nay. You get what you pay for. Here you certainly do.
Value for Money
So, putting unfair comparisons aside, onto the good part — the food. From our visit it was clear the cuisine cooked up by Chef Cuong Do and his team easily rises to the occasion. When we were there we went for one of his set menus (VND1,850,000) with the staff accommodating my penchant for duck without problem; including it as my main.
Beginning with a medley of starters and hors’ d’oeuvres, including some tone-setting ‘posh guacamole’ with caviar and crab, alongside a bread feature worthy of the Chelsea flower show, for company we choose an Argentinean malbec and the aforementioned sauvignon blanc. Both are from an extensive wine list.
The opening salvos were followed by three dishes, each one tending to let the ingredients speak for themselves — complex but not pretentious. These were a delicious white bean soup with truffle oil, the freshest of salmon tartars — including a beetroot emulsion I wanted more of — and finally an al dente crabmeat risotto.
We could be heroes
Onto the mains and once again, the food was spot on. Presented with meticulous care and finesse, our photographer Francis was kept busy. The rack of rare Australian lamb with taro, polenta and roasted capsicum was beautifully cooked, and when shared with my peach infused duck, provided a harmonious counterpunch. As if we weren’t full enough, out came a moreish desert of crepes with orange milk and a zesty lemon sorbet, a dish that would sit comfortably in any French creperie that I know.
The one thing lacking from Eon 51 is atmosphere (no pun intended). To truly elevate itself above the competition, the views aren’t quite enough. Certainly some mood music and possibly some artistic light direction wouldn’t go astray. But this is splitting hairs. When it came to attentive service, this dining option was a winner. And as for the food, each portion left us craving for more. It was that good.
And while dining here isn’t cheap, if first impressions as well as a top-notch experience matter, you’ll be hard pressed to find somewhere better. — Jon Aspin
Eon 51 Fine Dining is on the 51st floor of Bitexco Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Q1, HCMC, Tel: (08) 6291 8750. The Heli Bar with views over the city’s highest helipad is on the floor above