Two distinct cultures are meshed in a well-designed dining setting achieved by their team of chefs lead by Chef Alexandre Durand and Chef Tran Van Son. Chef Alexandre heads the French bill of fare, having put together a menu which includes their signature dish pâté en croûte (pork and foie gras terrine) for VND280,000, escargots en persillade (snails in parsley butter) that sets you back VND480,000 for six pieces and VND950,000 for a dozen, and quenelles de poisson sauce nantua (fish quenelle nantua sauce) priced at VND540,000.
Chef Tran Van Son celebrates local flavours in his portion of the menu. Among his favourite dishes and best sellers are the ca hoi Na Uy kho to (Norwegian salmon cooked in a clay pot with Phu Quoc pepper, caramel fish sauce, spring onions, and steamed rice) for VND580,000 and the goi ca hoang de tai chanh (lime-marinated king fish salad with young coconut, red onion, and daikon) which is priced at VND320,000. The starter — rare salmon fillet with Phu Quoc pepper crust, pickled ginger, kumquat fish sauce (ca hoi tam tieu Phu Quoc ap chao tai) sets you back VND295,000.
If you are into local Vietnamese flavours, the the rare salmon with kumquat fish sauce starter is a must. The fish is fresh and soft, while the sweetened ginger and kumquat sauce is refreshing, perfectly complementing the salmon with its subtle, tangy flavour.
On the French end, the snails in parsley butter is another best seller; it is light and tasty. Snail tongs and forks are given to avoid a mess making the dish simple yet satisfying. The pâté en croûte is literally translated as pie crust; it is filled with terrine made up of pork, pork jelly, and foie gras, and is an original recipe of Chef Alexandre’s grandfather. The texture of the terrine and crust is unique and goes well with the side salad.
Located on the first floor of Park Hyatt Saigon, the entrance to Square One is simple and chic. Once inside, a wide selection of wine is on display to the delight of wine connoisseurs. Next to it is the Cellar Room, one of the three private rooms available at the restaurant. Here, the atmosphere is quite youthful. A long, live edge walnut table is at the centre and could cater to 18 people for a private meeting or gathering.
The other two private rooms are called the Kitchen Room as it is next to the kitchen, and the Library Room as it has shelves filled with books. These rooms are for those looking for utmost privacy as they are located at the far end of the dining area.
For the main dining room, choose among their well-styled leather or wooden seats. Here, diners have a view of the separated Vietnamese and French open-kitchens. At the centre sits a bar where you can taste signature cocktails. The drinks have touches of Vietnam as they include ingredients that are abundant in the country like star anise and pineapple.
With earthy colours like orange, white, tan, black and hints of gold and silver, Square One sticks to a theme that is at once modern and intimate. The lights coming from the stylish chandeliers are quite dim, but they are contrasted by the French glass windows and doors that lead to the open-air seating on the balcony.
Besides its main menu, Square One at Park Hyatt Saigon serves up set lunches that differ every day. Their set menus also offer a wine list curated and selected by their sommelier, Marie-Charlotte LeGouil. It is available from 11am to 2.30pm and is priced at VND520,000. Dinner is served from 6pm to 10.30pm.
PHOTOS BY BAO ZOAN