The Riverside Café is a gorgeous place for an afternoon cocktail. Set aside the peaceful Thu Bon River, a colonial building opens up to al fresco patios pleasantly shaded by lush tropical trees. A gentle breeze brushes our skin as the sun looses its strength, and we feel the setting whispering, “Time for a cocktail,” in our ears.
Our sweet waitress attests to the deliciousness of the Hoi An Passion Mojito (135 000) so that’s my first order. The usual mix of white rum, fresh mint, lime and soda water are given a tang of Vietnam with passion fruit pulp inclusion. The Mekong Caipiroska (130 000) catches hubby’s eye. This time, its watermelon and pineapple that have lushed up the vodka and lime, gifting the classic a tropical tinge. Ensuring detox, alongside the retox, hubby has requested a fresh juice of mango and passion fruit. All round our beverages have been nicely chilled, well balanced and refreshing.
Yes, we know you’re going to say, “Don’t eat in a hotel. Go for the street food!” But we’re not ready to give up our spot of calm, and with happy hour prices we better get something in our tummies if we’re to stay awake past sunset.
The Vietnamese Tasting (225 000) platter features butterfly prawns, five-spice grilled minced beef wrapped in betel leaf, and fresh summer rolls. The shrimp is coated with a crunchy green batter and the flesh is firm to the bite – obviously fresh. Shrimp, pork, fresh herbs and vegetables test the paper-thin wrappers of the summer rolls with their plumpness, and the beef bundles are wonderful with a dip in the curry sauce from the side.
Green Rice Prawns on Banana Flower Salad (195 000) showcases the light freshness that I adore about Vietnamese cuisine. A duo of large battered prawns sits alongside a generous mound of finely shredded vegetables. Banana flower, red cabbage, green mango, carrot and bean sprouts are seasoned with Vietnamese sweet and sour sauce. Yum.
The classic, Vietnamese Noodle Soup Pho (190 000), made with beef, is hubby’s order. It’s simple and clean. An assemblage of green herbs from the hotel’s garden accompany the bowl, and a separate teapot of soup is poured in as desired. A squeeze of lime and a dob of Hoi An chili paste, and she’s good to go!
Hubby’s by my side so there’s no getting around an order of Banana Fritters (135 000). The fruit’s golden batter is a perfect match for sunset. Flamed with rum, drizzled with a rum sauce, and served with vanilla ice cream, fried food doesn’t get much better than this.
I’m not quite ready for a full dessert so honour dusk with a Classic Margarita (130 000). Tequila, Triple Sec and lime meet the standard, and I finish the last drop, just in time to head off for a sunset cruise.
Reasons to visit: lovely riverside location; fresh Vietnamese cuisine.
Anantara Hoi An Resort
1 Pham Hong Thai Street
Hoi An City, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
+84 510 3914 555