Shri was Ho Chi Minh City’s first rooftop dining experience complete with a sushi bar when they were all the rage. That’s not to say that this place is tired, outdated and will have you wanting to end it by pin-dropping over the edge to the pavement 23 floors below. It’s the opposite. It’s classy without being pretentious, the views across the city are amazing, the wait staff are well-trained to the point where they are almost invisible but your water glass remains full somehow, and the attention to detail is probably unsurpassed anywhere in Saigon.
It takes balls, foresight and know-how to make a success of things in this city, none more so than in the cut-throat circus that is hospitality, but Richie Fawcett and his team have got all three. As Richie says, “You’ve always got to be thinking three steps ahead.”
Shri recently launched its new decor, revitalised its lunch menu and instated Javier Gomez as chef, who is arguably the best chef going around in Saigon at the moment. The new executive grill menu at VND250,000 served from 11am to 3pm Monday to Friday offers an inexpensive window into what this place is capable of.
My experience started with a rich and tasty potato soup with crunchy croutons partnered with a sundried tomato and olive focaccia followed by Chef Javier’s recommendation of steak (choice of short ribs, ribeye, flank or cheeks) served with whatever he feels like on the day (I received large penne, roasted carrots, asparagus and squash garnished with fried taro chips).
He then insisted I try the pan-seared grouper pieces elegantly stacked in a shallow pool of green pea pure and topped with a small selection of roasted vegetables and garnished with those taro chips again.
The fish lands on the table with a small pot of bearnaise sauce to the side. Okay, I don’t recommend you eat two dishes for yourself (I had some help) because the portions are spot-on anyway, but this is seriously excellent value for money. It had me scraping at the bottom of the plate.
The other choices in the set lunch are a chicken supreme with pesto, and a black Atlantic cod baked in a romescu sauce originating from Catalonia. The set lunch comes with a refreshing aloe vera drink, but if you need something sweet to wrap things up, go for the dessert of the day for an extra VND80,000.
photos: MATTHEW COWAN
Shri Restaurant & Lounge is at Level 23, Centec Tower, 72-74 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, HCMC. For more info, go here