28 July, 2017
351/45 Lê Văn Sỹ, District 3, Hồ Chí Minh
Wifi password: 351levansy
I’m still surprised to find relatively large, stylized cafés on random little alleyways off streets like Lê Văn Sỹ, but I probably shouldn’t be. While not as big as City House or as ostentatious as Café Trầm, it has a fantastic rustic vibe with lots of aged wood and weathered decorations. It strikes me as similar to an old “American wild-west” styling, though there’s no indication that’s precisely what they were going for (there’s no spurs or horseshoes, after all).
The shop offers a few outdoor chairs around a small pond, and a whole bunch of indoor seating arrangements. Most of the tables are lower than I’d like, but good enough to make due. Music was low, Vietnamese language fare that didn’t distract, and the place was nearly empty when I arrived. They have a small stage and advertise live music occasionally.
Hoang’s menu is printed in both Vietnamese and English, but is mostly just Vietnamese-style fare. You’ll find the usual Viet coffees, teas, yogurts, a surprising array of soft drinks, smoothies, and a few alcoholic drinks. There’s a small list of food, but it’s probably just cheap instant stuff. All the items on the menu actually list two prices: one price for before 20:00 (8pm) and one for after. So if you want your basic black coffee for 32,000đ, you’ll have to show up before eight. Otherwise it jumps to 55,000đ, which I’d say is quite unacceptable. The coffee itself is strong, but bitter, and was served with lots of ice, which watered it down considerably before I finished.
Verdict: I may come back again sometime for the atmosphere, and because it’s near my house, but it wasn’t good enough to make it a regular haunt.