A garden in the city

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A quiet patio at Kaffee Stude

I came across Kaffee Stude by chance when I was a bit early for another interview nearby.

It's a lovely garden café and restaurant with comfortable outdoor and indoor areas amid the old villas of Tu Xuong Street, District 3.

At first impression, the place reminds me of a holiday spent watching the time roll away in a forgotten orchard surrounded by ivy-covered walls.

Serenity is the word that comes to mind as the big white umbrellas, long white French chairs and wooden tables with grey silk cushions rest above tiny yellow leaves lying lazily on the stone floor. In the middle of the garden, between the four umbrellas, there is a cherry tree with white pebbles under it.

It was a cool morning and I choose a table under the cherry tree. In the summertime, the tiny pink cherry flowers swing in the breeze and on the opposite wall, the blooming red flowers are bright and vibrant.

The garden is a different and more peaceful world than outside on Tu Xuong Street, where motorbikes and taxis race by.

My favorite part of sitting at Kaffee Stude was watching little birds fly down from the trees to find food on the ground.

I watched as a taxi stopped in front of the restaurant and a family walked out, about to enter the opposite restaurant. But a little girl in pink was drawn to Kaffee Stude and ran into the garden to satisfy her curiosity (probably hoping that her parents would change their choice of restaurant).

Ostrich steak served sizzling

Kaffee Stude
Café & Restaurant

6A Tu Xuong Street, District 3,
Ho Chi Minh City

The indoor area also offers a cozy atmosphere with white furniture and transparent silk ceiling lights, highlighted by beaded and handmade Indian fabric paintings on the wall. On another side of the wall, there are photos of women from different corners of Vietnam wearing real silver necklaces made by ethnic minority communities in the mountains of northern Vietnam.

Kaffee Stude plays classic jazz, which suits the dreamy style of the garden. The menu is an unusual mix of common staples and unique dishes, and I ordered ostrich steak (VND53,000) and tea for breakfast.

After only a few minutes, the waiter brought me the hot ostrich steak still sizzling on a hotplate beside bread, a small dish of salad and a small bowl of pickles with chilly. She arranged them on a yellow bamboo placemat.

It was the first time I had ever tried ostrich meat. It's similar to beef but more tender, soft and flavorful. Though it was morning, I ordered extra bread to enjoy every last drop of sauce leftover on the hot plate.

After I finished the tea, the waitress brought me some ice water with a slice of lemon and continued filling the glass each time it became empty.

The menu offers a selection of Italian, French, German and some Vietnamese dishes.

For appetizers, there is bruschette (choice of tomato, mushroom or eggplant VND71,000 for three pieces and VND112,000 for five pieces); garlic bread (VND43,000); calamari with strawberry sauce (VND93,000); cheese sticks (VND83,000); verrine avocado & salmon (avocado, crème, smoked salmon VND120,000).

The menu also includes sections on salads, stews, pastas, grilled dishes and rice and noodles.

After breakfast, I was already thinking about my next lunch there, wanting to try the pork ribs with pear (VND125,000) or the rabbit in red wine (VND142,000), or Turkish lamb (VND249,000), or baked sea bass with lemon butter cream (VND132,000).

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