Orientica @ Hotel Equatorial Ho Chi Minh City

Take the lift to the 2nd Floor of the Hotel Equatorial in Ho Chi Minh City and when you enter Orientica Seafood Restaurant & Bar, you will be greeted by bold colours of red, silver and black – the predominant palette of its ultra-chic decor. All done and matched tastefully in a modern, stylish theme punctuated with bonsai plants silhouetted elegantly against the walls. Against this sleek backdrop, contemporary classy light fittings cast amber hues across the restaurant, further enhancing its luxurious setting. Lined up against one side are tanks with live fishes and all kinds of fresh seafood on beds of crushed ice… the freshest that Vietnam can offer. This is, after all, a seafood-based restaurant.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The core of the restaurant’s bustling pace is the glass-enclosed open kitchen in the centre where Executive Chinese Sous Chef Wong Yow Phun holds court. Every now and then the distant roar of flames dancing up the chef’s wok would delight diners as they wait for their meals to be served. Chef Wong, a Malaysian, clearly enjoys cooking up creative storms in the restaurant as the food he serves has unique twists garnered from other cuisines. He unabashedly told us how he learned, experimented and got inspired from watching YouTube!

deco Collage

The restaurant runs on 3 thematic elements: Fire, Water and Ice and these are represented in the teppanyaki bar, sake and sushi bar respectively. Based on these elements, Chef Wong served us a meal that was beautifully crafted and one which lingers deliciously in our minds.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dinner started with Ice – a cold appetizer in the form of Fresh Soya Oyster on Smoked Salmon Tartar decorated with Black Caviar and lightly drizzled with Ponzu. The ingredients were all deluxe on their own and when fused together, it’s quite intoxicating in its richness. The oyster was sweet and slipped easily down the throat even as I was still savouring the briney popping caviar on my tongue.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Fresh Soya Oyster on Smoked Salmon Tartar with Black Caviar and Ponzu

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Next came the Fire element – not exactly fiery but definitely very warm Seared Scallops, Foie Gras & Beijing Duck served with caramelized brandy apple and unagi sauce.  I loved how Chef Wong has blended east and west culinary delights in one serving and they all worked sublimely.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 Seared Scallops, Foie Gras & Beijing Duck

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The next 2 dishes represented Water: Lobster Bisque & Lemongrass Emulsion and Steamed Cod Fish with Soya Milk & Porridge Puree.  In between the two, we were served a palate cleanser – Ginger & Chilli Granite.  I loved the lobster and lemongrass marriage in the bisque and there’s a little offspring of a sharksfin “xiao long bao” in it too!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 Lobster Bisque & Lemongrass Emulsion

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 Our palate cleanser – Ginger & Chilli Granite

The steamed cod fish was a bit bland to me – a wee bit more of flavoring would have brought out the fresh sweetness of the fish more distinctly.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 Steamed Cod Fish with Soya Milk & Porridge Puree

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Chef Wong showcased his Chinese culinary prowess in the Sous Vide 75oC Pork Spare Rib.  The tender juicy meaty rib had a thick glistening sauce clinging to it, spiked lusciously with Zheng Jiang vinegar.  The western spouse to this Chinese hog was none other than Truffled Mash and they did have some pretty offsprings in the saute’ed spring vegetables!  I noticed how vegetables were cut in dainty crescents, spears and florets here, then meticulously arranged in a colourful row – sweet!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 Sous Vide 75oC Pork Spare Rib

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Szechuan Pepper-marinated US Beef Striploin served with braised noodles in carrot reduction was the last mains for the evening.  The striploin pieces were the stars – meltingly tender and juicy with only barely-discernible peppery fieriness in the meat.  I think Chef Wong was very cautious with the peppers knowing how stinging they could be.  The braised noodles were extremely light in flavor – perhaps intentional, so as to let the striploin take centre-stage in this dish.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 Szechuan Pepper-marinated US Beef Striploin

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I barely had room for desserts and it’s a good thing they kept that to a minimal.  Dubbed “Saigon Sweet Ending”, the plate held a piece of Chocolate Cake with Saffron Cream Brulee & Marsala Wine Sabayon Sauce and these delectable morsels ended our dinner on a high note.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 Saigon Sweet Ending

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 Chef Wong in his element!

Orientica Seafood Restaurant serves an All-You-Can-Eat Dimsum brunch on Sundays priced at VND310,000++ (about RM49++) per person.  You get to order from their Dimsum menu and the food is cooked fresh based on your order.  We saw Chef Wong and his team in full swing on the Sunday we were there as they cooked dish after dish to serve the diners.

chef Collage

 Just look at the vigour and flames!

The menu lists all the usual popular dimsum items like steamed and fried dumplings, congee, rice rolls, paus, buns, fishballs, meatballs, stirfried radish cakes and even main dishes like meats, seafood, soups, vegetables and desserts are not forgotten, of course.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 Plating work in progress

Here are some of the dishes we tried…

dimsum Collage

And these were our favourites…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 Braised Shredded Abalone & Assorted Seafood Soup

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 Steamed Prawns & Spinach Dumplings

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 Fried Soft-shell Crabs with Salted Eggyolks

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 Tempura Prawns

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 Steamed Beef Balls with Beancurd Sheets

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 Stir-fried Radish Cake

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 Wok-fried Beef with Black Pepper Sauce

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 Crispy Eggplant with Salt & Pepper

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 Egg Tarts & Fried Sesame Dumplings

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Chef Wong spoiled us with this special Deep-fried Durian Puff

Well, the good thing is that you can order your favourites as many times as you like!

If you are in Ho Chi Minh City and find yourself hankering after some good Dimsum, Orientica Seafood Restaurant is one place you can satisfy your cravings!  At very decent pricing too with top-notch quality ingredients – everything is cooked fresh and served a la carte style.

Orientica Seafood Restaurant & Bar
Level 2
Hotel Equatorial Ho Chi Minh City
242 Tran Binh Trong Str.,
Ward 4, Dist. 5,
Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam
Tel: +848 3839 7777
Fax: +848 3835 9969

Website here

Opens daily
Lunch: 11.30 am – 2.30 pm
Dinner: 6.30 pm – 10.30 pm
Bar & Lounge: Daily from 10.30 am – 2:30 pm and 6:30 pm – 10:30 pm

email

Tags:

2 Responses to “Orientica @ Hotel Equatorial Ho Chi Minh City”

  1. August 12, 2013 at 11:48 pm #

    whoa, each course is a real work of art! i love how confident and sexy all the food looks here! :D

  2. August 13, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    first mediteca, now orientica, next we’re gonna have nipponica! :D

Leave a Reply