Dinner at a film studio

By Minh Nga, Thanh Nien News

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Studio of Saiga Café and Lounge 
Until we walked into Studio of Saiga Café and Lounge, we did not know that the place is actually part of a famous film company’s real film studio.
The café and lounge welcomed us not with a waiter or a waitress but with a chef sitting outside by the outdoor charcoal grill at the headquarters of Saiga film in Ho Chi Minh City.
Originally part of the film studio, the inside Studio of Saiga Café retains decorations like spotlights hung on the ceiling, which is the old studio’s ceiling of metal grids and smaller moveable light fixtures.
The area inside the café is spacious and guests can choose to sit on the high wooden tables in the middle of the room or on long couches against the walls, or on big sofas with lower tables in the corners.
Bunches of flowers are set randomly on tables, gently prettifying the scene, which takes places in dark yellow light with melodious music in the background.
We chose to sit on a couch where the light was brightest for our dinner.
From that spot, it was easy to see that the highlight of the space is the standing bar - like a pub - where lines of light bulbs hang down from the ceiling. There’s also a corner where a small stage with piano and guitar are in place, also with strings of light bulbs hung above, where live music is performed every Friday night.
The menu at Studio of Saiga is quite selective.
During the daytime, it offers 23 different dishes of rice, noodles, and spring rolls with prices ranging around VND49,000-105,000 per dish.
But for nights, there are only grilled dishes, which are not available in the daytime. The chef outside is only there in the evenings.
Eight kinds of grilled dishes are available at Studio of Saiga with prices ranging from VND12,000 to VND65,000 per dish and a set of mixed grilled dishes priced at VND121,000.
As a lounge, Saiga has various kinds of drinks from fruit juice, smoothies and mocktails to cocktails, beer, wine, coffee and soft drinks, ranging in price from VND35,000-72,000.
We decided to have a set of mixed grilled food for two and two mocktails: Blue night (blue curacao, lemon juice, pineapple, coconut) and Virgin Passion Colada (passionfruit, pineapple, coconut). Each cost VND68,000.
The drinks came quickly in beautiful shapes and colors, and tasted really good
A dish of grilled mix dish besides two glasses of mocktail
It took quite a while for our set of mixed grilled food to reach the table.
It included two grilled beef skewers, two pork skewers, octopus, chicken wings, chicken feet and a grilled corn. We ordered one more corn for the set.
The food was served on a banana leaf and looked mouth-watering with the yellow of the grilled food, especially the corns, which were covered with oily green onions.
Going along with the food is muoi tieu chanh (salt and pepper with lime) and dua mon (Vietnamese pickled carrots, cabbage, garlic chives and turnips).
We especially loved the corn, which was hot, fragrant, and crunchy. The other foods were well-grilled, and the meat was not dry but a bit oily and wet.
I would give the food and drink an A-plus for excellence.
From the staff, we learned that the lounge is still in use by Saiga Film as a studio.
Address: Studio of Saiga Cafe and Lounge, 69 Pham Ngoc Thach Street, District 1, HCMC
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