Cafe Cardinal: Taking the Time to Live the Good Life
Six years ago, The Reverie Saigon opened its doors to much fanfare in celebration of its opulent, eye popping interiors. The hotel itself had worked with Italy’s top interior designers to bring a sophisticated, modern and classical European feel to the venue, and since then, thanks to the presence of Italian fine dining restaurant R&J Italian Lounge & Restaurant, The Reverie Saigon has developed a reputation not only for being the city’s go to location for authentic, high quality Italian cuisine, but also for providing a slice of classic European inspired luxury.
However, it is not only the decadence of haute Italian design that is celebrated at The Reverie Saigon. Located on the 6th floor of the hotel and overlooking the city’s famous Nguyen Hue, it would be hard to describe Café Cardinal as a ‘hidden’ gem, but perhaps it is acceptable to say that it is The Reverie Saigon’s best kept secret.
Contemporary, classic and incredibly chic, Café Cardinal’s impressive atrium and floor to ceiling windows offer guests designer dining in the lavish surroundings that have become The Reverie Saigon’s signature style. But while Café Cardinal’s interior may be filled with exquisite Italian marble and decorated with Venini light installations, look beyond the décor and you will see the savoir vivre begin to shine through.
The French concept of savoir vivre literally means ‘knowing how to live’, and how to live with poise, good manners and elegance. And from the moment you enter the spectacular dining room of Café Cardinal, ‘elegant’ is the word that springs to mind. With a menu and ambiance that echo the dining halls of Parisian high society, Café Cardinal is the perfect destination to relax, unwind and indulge in the finer things in life.
As the sun streams through the perfectly polished windows, light reflects off every shining surface in Café Cardinal’s spacious dining room. Fresh flowers add pops of colour to each table and attentive, immaculate staff are on hand to assist with your every need. The menu features classic and luxurious dishes such as caviar, lobster and oysters, and an exceptional selection of wines, spirits, cocktails and mocktails are available to accompany your meal.
Earlier this year, Café Cardinal welcomed a new Chef de Cuisine into the fold. Born and raised in Chartres, France, some 90 kilometres from Paris, Paul Pettini has spent his professional career in the kitchens of Michelin starred restaurants throughout France and more recently alongside three-star Michelin chefs Laurent and Jacques Pourcel at their renowned restaurant, Jardin Des Sens, in Ho Chi Minh City.
Arriving at Café Cardinal in early 2021, Chef Pettini highlighted his desire to create dishes that allow diners to understand their story. It is no surprise then that the delectable Duck Breast is building a reputation for being a ‘must- try’ signature dish. Prepared at the table, where guests can see how the dish, which features a classic Orange Gastrique sauce, comes together, Chef Pettini’s creation is the perfect example of intense flavours and storytelling that is making Café Cardinal a popular choice amongst the city’s foodies.
Of course, savoir vivre is not only found amongst fine dining dishes created from the finest ingredients. Simple pleasures can also be elegant and for hundreds of years, the social elite of European society were regularly found sipping tea and enjoying cakes and pastries in the afternoon. Whilst many may believe that Afternoon Tea is a British tradition, it was in fact, adopted even earlier by the French in the early 17th century.
Visitors to Café Cardinal can now enjoy a truly authentic Parisian Tea House experience every day of the week. Each guest can indulge not only in the variety of delicate macarons and perfect pastries, carefully crafted by The Reverie Saigon’s skilled pastry chefs, but they can also gently sip unlimited cups of a wide variety of high-quality teas, supplied by luxury retailer Dammann Freres, who have been supplying tea to the most exclusive circles of French society for over 300 years.
Over 35 varieties of top quality tea are available for guests to enjoy at Café Cardinal. Like fine wines, the flavor and character of tea is strongly affected by its origin, its cultivation and its harvesting; each of which will have a great influence on how a cup of tea will appear, smell and taste. Of course, as with everything at Café Cardinal, attention to detail is paramount so staff are always happy to make suggestions as to which blend will best complement your tastes and maximise your ability to enjoy an elegant, alternative culinary journey.
With seasonal ingredients regularly being incorporated into the Salon de Thé menu, and with the option of adding a glass of Champagne or Prosecco, Café Cardinal’s Thé De Paris is a delightful addition to Saigon’s afternoon calendar of social events.
Finally, for anyone interested in adding more social events to their own calendar, it is worth noting that Café Cardinal also offers a Thé Dansant (Tea Dance) on the first Sunday of every month*. With a live jazz band playing classic smooth jazz, swing and tango, whilst afternoon tea is served to participants, the event is a refreshingly modern take on yet another classic and joyful pastime.
Saigon is a city that never stands still, the push for progress is ever present and for many it is all too easy to forget how to live. However, in the spacious and sparkling surrounds of Café Cardinal, there is time for every guest to simply stop for a moment and take it all in. When every sip, every slice, every bite and every detail has been planned to perfection, it suddenly becomes easier to remember how to live, and to take the time to embrace savoir vivre. Make sure you visit soon, you certainly won’t regret it.
Cafe Cardinal is located on Level 6, The Reverie Saigon, 22-36 Nguyen Hue Boulevard, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. To make reservations click here, for all other enquiries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call +84 (0) 28 3823 6688
* At the time of publishing, the monthly Thé Dansant has been postponed in accordance with current Covid-19 restrictions. In order to avoid disappointment, please check the Reverie Saigon website to get up to date information about event details.