Tango in Saigon

Octo-Tapas-Resto-Bar-urban-flavours

 

OCTO-urban-flavours

 

Octo bills itself as a ‘restobar’ -having weaved down a small alley, climbed a rickety staircase, up past multiple, mixed businesses on each floor until lost, deep in the bowels of a decaying remnant, (this is a quintessential Sai Gon experience I never tire of)- I finally enter to find the pata negra and the exceptionally long bar, wrapped around and open kitchen, a worthy pronouncement to Octo’s mojo.

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High tables and stools hold true with the theme and lend to the atmosphere. Here is a stylish space that is not overly obsessed with itself; a place where the fun is as important as the food and you can get a little loose without worrying about what the other tables are talking about. A seat at the bar, overlooking the open kitchen provides genuine theater.

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The drinks list is impressive, I was there to be immersed in the place and found the sherry list exciting and exceptional. A dry fino, (crisp, nutty, fine) and a 12-year-old Pedro Ximenez, (rich with fig and marzipan) were outstanding.

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I wanted to sample a good cross section of their culinary offerings and found the tapas, para picar and more substantial mains to be of the highest quality, some of the best I have tasted in the region and easily the best in Vietnam. The Iberico ‘Katsu’ Sandwich, (addictive Umami) Monkfish in Iberico broth, (the deep-sea flesh and rich pork broth are a mighty pairing) and Beef Cheek in a Pedro Ximenez sauce, (tender flakes of juicy beef and marrow floating in a rich sauce) with traditional trinxat, (Spanish bubble-and-squeak) all worthy of special mention.

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The place was busy for a Monday night and I found the staff relaxed, friendly, helpful and very, very good at what they do. As I was dining alone, I totally appreciated their warmth, company and assistance throughout the evening.

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This is one very special place, an essential dining destination in South East Asia for foodies and fans of classic and contemporary Spanish cuisine. Octo is a must and I will happily return there again and again.

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Open 7 days per week for lunch and dinner

Level 2, 75 Hồ Tùng Mậu,

Bến Nghé, Quận 1,

Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

+84 93 300 28 95

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