La Cafeteria De L’usine, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

What better way to start a new day in a brand new city than with a wake-up meal of brunch?

Having arrived in Ho Chi Minh City the night before, we were excited to explore the city and discover the sights, sounds and tastes of the place and our guide had the perfect place to take us. With the promise of sumptuous brunch food we took to the streets and had some doubts as we entered dark alleys..

Upon arrival, we learnt that we were a tad early and the place was not yet operational. Laughing it off we goofed to a couple of shots in the corridor in our bid to ignore the cries from our guts.

5 mins into the wait, we decided to beg the service staff to let us in and explore the place even if the kitchen wasn’t ready.. and they consented. Warm from our walk and the lack of air-conditioning we embraced our entry through the glass doors.

L’Usine marries fashion boutique, cafe and art gallery into a single space, all with a twist of contemporary Vietnamese experience. What i love is the marriage of the old and new – where L’Usine is housed, the French colonial building dates back to the 1800s and has endured the ravages of two wars and yet the interior of L’Usine is extremely modern with touches of modern vintage pieces as if trying to tie the history and the future in a single space.

Fronted by the well-lit, airy cafeteria, the entry is flanked by the dessert counter on its left and spacious seating on its right, leading you straight to the central retail space that serves as a connector to the individual areas – cafe, gallery, retail. The store is well-stocked with exclusive labels from all over the world and exudes a quirky sense of style that really appealed to me. Beyond the racks of wear, the store also offers trinkets and lifestyle accessories for you to dress yourself or your space up.

With the visual treat packed in, we took our seats at the cafeteria section and lost ourselves in the menu. With full faith in our hosts’ choices, we left the decision-making to her and settled to enjoy the view that was presented to us as the kitchen prepared our chow.

Not to be missed anywhere in Vietnam is their iced coffee and order that we did. The rich aroma and flavor of the coffee mixed with sweet milk packs such a lovely kick that it leaves you craving for more and order that we did. A serving of the Vietnamese styled iced coffee at L’Usine will set you back by VND28.000.

Sharing two dishes between the three of us as we had a Vietnamese lunch in mind, we quickly polished off our main orders of Quiche Lorraine and the Breki Burger.

The Breki Burger was an absolute crowd-pleaser with a beautifully poached egg, crisp bacon for an extra bite, topped with spinach for a wholesome crunch and tied together with a perfectly seasoned hollandaise sauce. Lip smackin’ goodness in a single bite and worth every VND75.000.

A fav of mine at every cafe is a good quiche lorraine and boy was i satisfied with the one i found here. Served on a buttery and crumbly pastry crust, the filling was well-flavored with a perfect combination of milk, cheese, spinach and eggs. Shelling out VND90.000 for that, i had no complaints.

As we forked mouthful after mouthful, the satisfaction at our table was an unspoken word of appreciation, clink of utensils in celebration and the drain of a straw in an empty glass.

So if you happen to find yourself in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, do drop in for a break.. I’m sure you’ll love it as much as i did.

GETTING THERE

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