HO CHI MINH CITY | Serendipity is perhaps the best work to describe how I ended up enjoying a rather brilliant meal at QUNICE Saigon a few weeks ago. I was aimlessly wandering the streets of District 1, Saigon, when a beautiful French Colonial era building caught my eye. I posted about it on my IG feed, and before long was contacted bb head chef and co-owner, Julien Perraudin.
He’s the co-owner and head chef at Quince, the restaurant inside the building. He’s a French chef, who spent a decade in Melbourne from 2004-15 before moving to South East Asia. Pop in he said, if you’re keen, and have a feed. It’s on me. Looking at the rather brilliant menu of, it turns out, quite an acclaimed restaurant, how could I say no.
Two days later, I was seated at the kitchen, with full view of the multiple custom built charcoal grills and fire pits, and I knew that I was in for a treat.
Quince is all about delicious things cooked over fire, and is an offshoot of the award-winning restaurant of the same name. It offers a broadly European menu informed by local produce and flavours. For Australians, imagine if NOMAD opened a restaurant In Vietnam. The food here is exceptional. Ingredients locally sourced where possible, but not exclusively so. You’ll find figs from small scale farms in Da Lat, but also Australian O’Connor, and veggies from France, Australia, and beyond. It’s about ensuring that you get the best quality meal possible, and boy do Julien and the team deliver.
The way that Julien and the team fuse European dishes with local influences is brilliant. Be it scallops prepared tonkatsu style, with smoked marrow and seaweed, or spicy salmon nori ‘tacos’.
It’s all inspired, delicious, and week worth your time if you find yourself in Ho Chi Minh City and looking for a change after several days of strictly Vietnamese dining. Make sure you head upstairs to Madam Kew post dinner for a post dinner cocktail. The negroni up there are particularly good.
37bis Ky Con, P. Nguyen Thai Binh
Ho Chi Minh City
Mon – Sun: 5:30am to 11:00pm