|Mexicana mix: Nachos at the Boat House have just the right mix of olives, jalapeno peppers, guacamole and salsa.
Samira Saran escapes from the HCM City hubbub to Boat House Vietnam along the Sai Gon River in suburban District 2.
With its peaceful setting adjacent to the Sai Gon River, the Boat House Vietnam restaurant is a world away from the downtown madness of HCM City.
Open spaces and lush foliage make it the perfect place to relax and unwind, from early morning to late evening.
The entire space is bright and breezy, and at night the outdoor area facing the river transforms into a romantic river getaway while maintaining an ambience that's casual enough for a family-friendly hangout.
It's also a great place for relaxing alone, dining with a large group, or meeting friends on a weekend.
Serving a variety of western and Asian fusion dishes along with a diverse spread of drinks, the Boat House is perhaps best known for its nachos, tacos and signature margaritas.
Sweet treat: Cupcakes from Sweet & Sour Bakery in HCM City are a delicious treat on their own or a great way to end a meal. — VNS Photos Susan Ransdell
Last summer, the owners kicked off the Taco Tuesdays special, which includes mini tacos at discounted prices accompanied by margaritas and a variety of other drinks.
And a few months ago, they launched Wing it on Wednesday, offering chicken wings in delectable flavours, from garlic parmesan to honey barbeque to spicy Asian.
Besides the weekly specials, the restaurant has a Happy Hour from 4.30-6.30pm on Monday through Friday, with extra-cold Tiger and Heineken draft beer for VND30,000 and glasses of wine for VND55,000 each. A veritable steal.
Live music, with regulars Davis Zunk and the Wanderlusters and occasional visits from musicians from around the world, is available from 5.30pm to 8pm on many nights of the week, including every Friday during Happy Hour.
Initially an outdoor-only space, the Boat House now has a roofed but open-air area, making it a great option during the rainy season.
On a recent outing, I chose the spicy garlic prawn pasta (VND195,000) served with a deliciously light but flavourful sauce. It was definitely the most memorable component of our meal.
With high expectations for the nachos (VND135,000), we were eager to try what the Boat House had to offer, and we were not let down.
The salsa was fresh and zesty, and the hot cheese was evenly melted among the chips. It was a bit disappointing that the nachos arrived late at the end of the meal, but it was well worth the wait.
|Quiet retreat: Located adjacent to the Sai Gon River, the Boat House Vietnam boasts enviable views of the city.
The portions were generous and I found myself grabbing the leftovers, only to keep munching after getting home.
Besides nachos and pasta dishes, the Boat House serves steak, numerous delicious salads, a variety of burgers (about VND195,000) and authentic Asian dishes including spring rolls (VND95,000) and chicken satay (VND195,000).
After dinner, we selected a few of the cupcakes provided by Sweet and Sour, a well-known cupcake bakery based in District 2.
Boat House Vietnam
Address: No 40 Lily Road
APSC 34 Compound, Thao Dien
District 2, HCM City
Phone: (84 - 8) 3744 6790
Hours: 8am to 11pm, Monday - Sunday
Comment: Relaxing riverside atmosphere, international food with weekly specials, live music
Besides the pretty cupcakes, the Boat House has a variety of desserts, including chocolate lava cake (VND135,000), cinnamon crisps (VND85,000) and ice cream (VND50,000).
For breakfast lovers, the restaurant serves various options throughout the day. The choices are mainly western, but the menu also contains Vietnamese pho.
A personal favourite of mine is the cinnamon-flavoured French toast (VND155,000), which gives the morning a sweet start as I sit by the riverside watching the boats glide by.
The Boat House is a great spot not only for diners but also for canine family members. It's a dog-friendly place, so don't be surprised to see an adorable pooch seated nearby.
The staff are warm and friendly, but for non-Vietnamese speakers there can sometimes be a bit of a language barrier.
Even so, I will not hesitate to return, not just for the lovely food, but also for the beautiful view of HCM City. — VNS