Cuc Gach, a startlingly unique restaurant tucked into a nondescript laneway near our home, has seriously caught our fancy. Venturing there at least once a week, Gavin and I have learned to love the randomness of their daily offerings and the inimitable charm of the space.
Apropos to a restaurant modeled after your grandmother's country home, this incarnation of Cuc Gach has a variable set-menu that changes daily and is served to your table family-style. Your meal will likely include two proteins, usually a meat and a fish, two vegetable dishes, a heaping bowl of steamed rice, and a light, flavorsome soup for an absurdly reasonable fixed price (50,000 VND). Embrace the unexpected: Gavin and I have been there nearly a dozen times and have never experienced the same meal twice.
I was also delighted to discover they serve vegan meals on the first and fifteenth of each lunar month. I recently indulged in a feast centered around stewed tofu and delicate, pickled mushrooms.
Each meal is concluded with some local, seasonal fruit to cleanse your palette.
The food is delectable, but for many it is the comforting ambiance that makes a first-time visitor a true acolyte. The simple, elegant, countryside-inspired decor is delightfully anachronistic and tasteful. Expect to find mid-century Vietnamese tunes pouring forth from a dusty record player, cozy nooks with over-sized wooden chairs, shelves overloaded with earthenware dishes and massive, painted vases full of lilies. In the middle of the restaurant, rickety planks of wood lead to the kitchen or the upstairs dining area through an atrium with khoi fish swimming in a placid pool. If only my grandmother's home looked like this...
Visit this Cuc Gach Quan for lunch or dinner at 92B Thach Thi Thanh in a far corner of District 1. You can also visit their main location, where one chooses items from an extensive menu, at 10 Dang Tat.