Kaki No Ki… or Café Persimmon Tree, Is a fabulous restaurant in Saigon’s “new little Japan” on Pham Viet Chanh street, Binh Thanh district. In the last couple of years the area has undergone serious change with countless Japanese stores, bars and restaurants popping up every week.
This restaurant is a little different from the others – a hidden gem of brilliant European cookery with a Japanese slant. The space is tastefully decorated in wood and white, and at the bar are a staggering number of whiskeys on offer (as well as – to my delight – some interesting and rare gins from Japan).
To accompany your drink there is an extensive menu of small plates, supplemented with daily specials. The options range from pasta, risotto, meats, cheeses, to marinated and raw fish, ajillo (items in a clay pot with garlic and seriously swimming in olive oil), salads, and some fried appetisers. A huge selection – which usually puts me off places – however everything here seems exceptionally well thought out and executed.
On my most recent visit, the stand out dish by far was the marinated mackerel. Served with cherry tomatoes, cress and pesto, the lightly marinated fish was an absolute joy. A big portion too, for the price.
The sangria by the glass, like a chilled mulled wine complete with cinnamon stick, is delicious and a steal at VND 65k per glass.
Like most of my favourite restaurants in Saigon, what stands out to me here is the attention to detail on each dish. The plates are generally small but perfectly formed and produced using the highest quality ingredients. It is well worth the detour from usual District 1 or 2 haunts if looking for some seriously good food.
My only gripe (and sadly it’s a big one!) is that most people here are smoking at their tables. As a non-smoker myself, I don’t have an issue when it’s an outside place, but it gets incredibly smoky in this restaurant. So much so that by the end of a meal here I am craving fresh air. So if like me you don’t want your hair smelling like you’ve been clubbing all night, be warned. But go anyway. The food is just that good…
Dinner for 2, VND 1 million including alcohol