Nice condo rooftop restaurants
VietNamNet Bridge – In a corner between Pasteur and Ly Tu Trong streets in District 1 is a curiosity-arousing restaurant name: “Secret Garden.” Customers to this eatery have to go all the way down a road and up to the fifth floor of an aging condo building to enjoy Vietnamese cuisine.
A corner of the rooftop restaurant Secret Garden
It is more difficult to locate Secret Garden than others in town. Tran Dinh Huy, the owner of the restaurant, says this is the very factor that makes Secret Garden different.
“All customers say they get tired after going upstairs to the fifth floor, but upon entry into the restaurant, they may be captivated by a unique space, which is a countryside garden hidden inside a busy city,” Huy says.
With distinctive northern countryside features, Secret Garden has its wooden tables and chairs arranged in between the vegetable garden, luffa rigs and small chicken coops.
Vu Manh, a regular of the restaurant, says he likes the place as it is separated from the noisy atmosphere of a crowded city like HCMC and it holds the charm of modern urban life.
For foreign guests, coming to Secret Garden is an interesting experience. Primadita Rahma Ekida, an Indonesian woman, says the way to the restaurant is like a hunting game. “At first I was quite discouraged as I had to enter a narrow path and climb four floors. But once arriving at the restaurant, I was deeply impressed by its decoration. Thanks to its location on top of a building, the atmosphere is very comfortable.”
Secret Garden is one of the three rooftop eateries run by Huy, with the other two being Mountain Retreat on Le Loi Boulevard and Oc Chi Em at Cong Truong Quoc Te Square in the commercial district. A rooftop is an ideal location for gourmets who want to get close to nature though it requires people to negotiate stairs.
Tran Dinh Huy at one of his rooftop restaurants
On websites about food and travel such as Foody.vn and TripAdvisor, Huy’s rooftop restaurants receive a lot of positive reviews, mostly on their locations. Most guests agree that those restaurants provide a cool and airy atmosphere and a nice view of the city.
Rent for rooftop space at old apartment buildings is much lower than on the ground floor or at new condo buildings, Huy says. However, it is laborious to create a unique space.
“Those old condo buildings do not have lifts. Workers had to hand-carry all construction materials from the ground to the fifth floor, a time-consuming and costly process,” he explains.
In addition, choosing materials was also hard. Huy says he had to find light materials to ensure that the buildings are not affected and his restaurants are unique.
Rooftop restaurants are not new but Huy’s use of the rooftops of old condo buildings for eateries makes a difference.