One cafe cum restaurant in HCM City is carving a name for itself serving an array of delicious Cantonese dishes at reasonable prices in a very pleasant ambience.
BY MỸ DUYÊN
It is not often that one thinks of a wedding and conference centre when one’s famished, unless the plan is to crash the place uninvited when someone else is getting married.
At the Kỳ Hoà Queen Plaza, a wedding and conference centre in HCM City’s District 10, there is no need to crash a wedding when one is hungry, because Iris Coffee & Restaurant stands ready to woo you with authentic Cantonese fare and great ambience, which includes a picturesque outdoor terrace and Chinese style interiors done tastefully in black and blue.
|Baked dumplings with BBQ honey-glazed minced pork is bound to become a favoured dish at this restaurant. VNS Photo MinhPhi|
A window seat overlooking the open terrace is a perfect dining spot at this place. In fact it would make a great place to hang out for a cup of coffee or tea, which is what the owners intended, obviously.
The restaurant’s expansive menu features a tempting selection of traditional dim sum, including steamed and deep-fried shrimp dumplings, steamed pork buns, fried seafood dumplings in soup, and wonton soup. Cantonese BBQ items are another culinary highlight here.
Since it was lunch time, there was no plan to gorge ourselves. My friend and I, crazy about dim sum, ordered a set for two and a hot tea pot at VNĐ245,000.
|Steamed chicken feet with black bean sauce and shrimp dumplings are a popular choice at Iris. VNS Photo MinhPhi|
We got started with steamed shrimp dumplings and steamed chicken feet with black bean sauce. Then we tried baked dumplings with BBQ honey-glazed minced pork and steamed rolls with black soya sauce. I am not a fan of chicken feet, but the other dumplings were delicious and we wolfed them down in rapid time.
The baked dumplings with BBQ honey-glazed minced pork deserves special mention. The flavour and taste matched its tantalising look. I was tempted to go all out for the pork buns and shrimp dumplings with crab roe, but decided to save room for the restaurant’s other specialties.
Roast Peking duck, roast suckling pig with honey, Macau style roast pork belly, deep-fried soft shell crab with salt & pepper, noodles stir-fried with seafood and shrimp rolls with bitter melon are dishes that one cannot go wrong with, here.
|Iris Coffee & Restaurant is a great place to enjoy authentic Cantonese food with friends and/or family. VNS Photo MinhPhi.|
We then came to one of the restaurant’s bestsellers -- BBQ honey-glazed pork (VNĐ150,000). Easy to understand why.
The homemade honey sauce gives the BBQ dish an appetizing yellow-brown colour, while the pork is succulent with no fat. I wolfed this one down with relish.
As we waited between courses, I skimmed through the menu with interest. There is a long list of Cantonese signature dishes including baked abalone puffs with diced chicken and pork ribs stir-fried with sweet-sour sauce and sauteed seafood with vegetables. A wide choice exists for those who favour Chinese rice and noodles.
There are some three-course rice combos at inviting prices available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The rice is served with roast pork or roast duck, soup and juices or fruit tea starting from VNĐ89,000 each.
On the noodles front on offer are the well known wonton soup with noodle, noodle soup with minced pork, beef noodle soup, noodle soup with roast pork, noodles soup with roast duck and rice noodle soup with fish fillet or other seafood, starting from VNĐ69,000.
I went for a bowl of wonton noodle soup (VNĐ79,000), sharing it with my friend. It was among the best I have had, with the aromatic, clear broth a perfect combination of pork and vegetables.
Seafood lovers can go for fresh and succulent crab, lobster and shrimp prepared in various ways can be found at Iris Coffee & Restaurant.
The chef’s recommendations include sauteed prawns with mayonnaise at VNĐ330,000 and deep-fried squid with black pepper and scallop minced shrimp coated with almond flakes (VNĐ 360,000).
After the noodles, we skipped the stir-fried vegetable dishes and chose two desserts to share - Chinese herb jelly with honey and tofu longan sweet soup with ice, respectively.
Both desserts hit the spots but the iced tofu longan sweet soup was better for summer in HCM City, I felt.
Full and unable to have anything else, we left the restaurant, already talking about the things we will try next time. -- VNS
Iris Coffee & Restaurant
Address: 16A Lê Hồng Phong Street, District 10
Phone: (028) 3863 3332
Available for breakfast, lunch and dinner
Comment: authentic Cantonese dishes, beautifully decorated terrace and interior design, friendly service.