The Deck is one of the best restaurants in town for escaping from the noise and motorbikes of Ho Chi Minh City.
It's a place where patrons are welcome to take their time, and there are few spacious outdoor restaurants in the city with such breathtaking views of the river as this place.
Just 20 minutes from the city center, The Deck transports us to the real Vietnamese countryside.
It is located right on the bank of the Saigon River and opposite a riverbank festooned with water coconuts, making the restaurant an ideal setting for the morning yoga class it hosts.
Upon first sight, The Deck conjures up a picture of two bamboo-lined paths leading to a courtyard shaded by a large tree and decorated with lotus blossoms.
There are two main dining areas, inside and on the terrace over the river. We chose a table on the terrace a little removed from the other diners.
From our vantage point we could see the white clouds reflected in the water and clumps of plant floating along the river. Sometimes a boat laden with goods would pass by, breaking the silence.
The Deck serves contemporary Vietnamese food plus international dishes created by Adrian Scotti, a young English chef who decided to work in Vietnam after "falling in love" with Vietnamese sidewalk food on a previous journey that had taken him from north to south.
Scotti is fascinated by the local tropical food culture, which is based on herbs, spices, fruit and, above all, freshness. His aim is to create fusion dishes such as duck and watermelon salad, and pineapple seafood ceviche.
He uses Asian influences to enhance the flavors he knows from his homeland. When he makes fish sauce, he adds ginger, chili, garlic, mint, coriander and sugar.
Choosing from The Deck's special weekend menu, we opted for a light Sunday lunch and ordered mango salad, pumpkin soup, pasta with duck and mushroom, and grilled vegetables. The exotic flavor of Vietnamese duck permeated our pasta, which was made richer by the mushrooms and herbs.
After lunch, we ordered more drinks and sat in comfort until sunset. We were in the right place to relax with a good book, catch the breeze off the water and escape the noise of the city for a spell.
38 Nguyen U Di Street, An Phu, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City