Such a gorgeous space and such a well-kept secret, Secret house is like the reclusive younger sibling of the now famous Saigon chain of homely Vietnamese restaurants including the lofty Mountain Retreat and the not-so-secret Secret Garden.
Opened in late 2017, Secret house is a ground-floor, inside-outside establishment with a beautiful herb and flower garden as its centrepiece. The restaurant is situated down a quiet Hem with several boutique hotels and coffee shops. Walking down this street truly feels as though one has been transported out of modern-day Saigon into times gone by. The building itself has been made to look like an ancient vietnamese straw and mud construction which lends an authentic feel to the restaurant.
Staff are friendly and willing to help visitors decode the well-photographed menu, which includes all the Vietnamese classics plus some dishes not normally found at tourist restaurants such as fried crispy hen (clams) served with rice crackers.
The salads, vegetables, meat and fish are fresh-tasting and not too greasy or sugary. Dishes are thoughtfully presented, although potion sizes can be a little on the small side. I love to order the stir-fried tonkin jasmine blossom with garlic, the pomelo and prawn salad, and the braised clay pot snakehead fish with some steamed white rice. Such complex and varied flavours but simple cooking style creates a healthy but satisfying meal.
To me this is a perfect restaurant to introduce visiting friends and relatives to Vietnamese cuisine in a relaxed yet elegant environment. Plus, Maison Marou is just around the corner for a very indulgent chocolaty dessert…
Meal for 2, VND 400k including beers