August 19, 2012

Café L’usine

151 Dong Khoi Street, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Everywhere we went during my visit to Ho Chi Minh City, anyone who was café savvy was talking about L’usine. This French inspired industrial cafeteria is the pride of a small group of Vietnamese and other internationals, including an Australian owner. We turned up at the café at lunch time, to be greeted by Manager Laurey Saker, a fellow Australian. The chic setting was half café and half flash retail environment, selling clothing from some of Vietnam’s most famous designers and unique designed homeware. The store has been voted by the website “Virtual Tourist” as one of the four most unique shops in the world.

Laurey showed us through the café and retail store, that boasted handmade industrial furniture crafted from left over factory bits and bobs used as furniture and fixtures through the warehouse space. Laurey has worked at L’usine for six months and controls the front of house, which seats around 200 people. The café food is a mix of French and Vietnamese cultures and is beautifully presented by the skilled kitchen team. The coffee was great and was well received from our travelling film crew, who were now a craving a good espresso.

The big drawcard of the business for locals is the fresh cupcakes, which line the bar area daily. The lemon and coconut and red velvet cup cakes were to die for and a pleasant accompaniment to a good coffee.

L’usine hosts the cool crowd of Saigon and is a popular hangout for artists and designers who need their creative juices activated. The café is quite hard to find, as you have to enter the building through a small retail arcade and walk up a narrow staircase to get into this cavernous space.

For foodies visiting Vietnam who want an Australian style café fix and a chillout from the crazy street noise, L’usine will appease all of your needs.

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