The Underground is one of the most popular expat scoffhouses in town. The location, down swanky Dong Khoi Street in District 1 at number 69, is a big time punta-pulla. If you’ve crouched at one street stall too many or exhausted your noodle quota, this is a decent enough place to pull up for a western fat-fest. If you can squeeze your way through the lard-bath of bloated business types and booze-fuelled away-from-homers you might find a comfy corner somewhere inside. A better option is to perch yourself at one of the seven outdoor terrace tables. Here you can gawk at the shoppers, gaze at the neon and scurry through the menu of 107 main courses and paltry four desserts. Above we have a slab of Bruschetta "Grilled baguette topped with chilli & tomato jam & freshly grilled whole pieces of goat’s cheese" for 65,000VD. Scrummy aperitif fodder, the goat’s cheese is a good score in Saigon.
Next up are Tacos "Three Taco shells smothered in your choice of topping, topped with jack cheese, lettuce & tomato. Comes with guacamole, sour cream & salsa picante" for 95,000VD. I plumped for the spicy beef strip topping with green peppers, onion and tomato. The problem I’ve got with this dish is my teeth. And no, I’m not referring to the recent intriguing spat against the Guardian, their Clark County experiment and British dental hygiene. For the record, they’re all my own, I’ve yet to have a filling, or any dental work (… touch enamel) and I visit the dentist twice yearly. I digress… but… the cut of the beef is a noodlepie gnasher clogger. I needed three pitstops to gouge out the nastiness. It’s no fun having to get over familiar with the toothpick jar. Having said that, I’d have the dish again, but I’d go for the chilli con carne filling. Actually, the main reason I ever bother scoffing at The Underground is the Nachos (with chilli con carne). I’m sure there’s batter nachos in Saigon, but I’ve yet to find them (recommendation please…). However, for some reason there’s a cornchip drought in Saigon. It’s been off the menu for around three months.
The Fisherman’s Basket is the option for the famished. "Chef’s selection of deep sea delicacies, lightly coated in home-made bread crumbs, deep fried & served with our house fries & salad. With Tartare sauce and Ketchup." goes for 90,000VD. It’s crisp ‘n’ dry and there’s a lot of it – like all the food at The Underground – but it’s not up to snuff. There are umpteen ways to create something out of fish chunks, prawns, squid and a couple of mussels, but this isn’t one of the better ones. Other possible menu ‘hits’ include; Bangers ‘n’ mash, Fish ‘n’ chips, Pizza and Shish kebabs. The service here is good. There’s more information on the Underground here. View the business card and directions.