Hidden Hanoi

Softwater Restaurant

Softwater Restaurant

One of my favorite things about living in Hanoi is the seemingly endless supply of secrets it provides. After two years here, I feel as if I’ve barely scratched the surface of any and everything. And when I get called to photograph some hitherto unknown location, well, that’s always exciting. Especially when it’s one of the nicest new restaurants in town, saddled alongside the banks of the Red River on a sprawling gazillion acres of manicured land with ancient trees imported from all across Asia. Which is where I was yesterday evening. At the new Softwater Restaurant.

They haven’t done much in the way of promotion and according to Ricky, the restaurant’s manager, their clientele currently consists of high-ranking government officials, chiefs of industry, urban elite and people [previously] way more in the know than Yours Truly. Which isn’t surprising. It’s by far one of the most beautiful and charming spaces in the city and judging from the small sampling I was prepared, it’s food stands alongside current culinary heavyweights as well. Chef Soh Chia Hwa, from Penang in Malaysia, was formerly at the Nam Hai Resort in Danang/Hoi An, which is pretty good pedigree.

Prices are obviously a bit on the higher side, but you get what you pay for. There’s a nice outdoor bar surrounded by ponds and stone paths and such. I’ll probably be there at least one night this week before leaving for New York.

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