Dining in a small antique museum

Kieu Giang

Antiques are on display at the lobby of Si Restaurant

Antiques are on display at the lobby of Si Restaurant

The restaurant with its humble façade in glass is nestled in a quite and small street of Ngo Van Nam near Le Thanh Ton Street. Once inside, people might be amazed to see a huge collection of antiques set up in the main entrance on the ground floor. These artifacts are arranged in some high cabinets made of glass.

Owners of Si Restaurant are popular antique collectors, so guests can hear some interesting stories behind each artifact and their knowledge after years of collecting antiques in Vietnam and overseas.

Si Nguyen, one of the owners of the restaurant, told the Daily that there are about 100 antiques on display in the house. These artifacts are regularly changed to bring a fresh look.

Some noticeable items are a collection of 13 pieces of pearl jewelry made from Phung Nguyen Culture dating back around 4,000 years; a sole pottery pot in green and white colors featuring the images of Hai Ba Trung (the two Trung Sisters who lived in the early first century) fighting against enemies produced in 1960; a Dong Son bronze drum; pottery items of Ly and Tran dynasties and a collection of seven con nghe (an animal with the kylin head and the body of a dog) of Le, Tran and Mac dynasties, among others.

Si also shows his concerns that not many locals are interested in learning about antiques or historical or cultural stories behind an antique while foreigners are excited to learn about these artifacts.

Si has received bookings from tourists from Japan to dine at the restaurant. However, what Si and his partners want is to make the concept of dining and discovering culture and history popular among locals.

A painting by Ital- ian artist Barbara Pellizzari is on dis- play at the restaurant - PHOTOS: KIEU GIANG

A painting by Ital- ian artist Barbara Pellizzari is on dis- play at the restaurant – PHOTOS: KIEU GIANG

The restaurant is also a venue to host regular painting exhibitions by both local and foreign artists. Previously, Si Restaurant held an exhibition by Choe, the late cartoonist. At the moment, the restaurant is displaying artworks by Barbara Pellizzari, an Italian artist who has lived in Vietnam for years. Her works feature people and life in Vietnam.

The eatery also aims to bring a fine dining concept of Vietnamese cuisine to guests. According to Si, each dish at Si Restaurant is like an artwork prepared by Cam Thien Long, a young winning chef who loves to cook traditional dishes of the country combined with the art of Western decoration.

Si Restaurant offers a set lunch at VND240,000 per person. There’s also a menu featuring lots of good treats and wines for diners to choose. It costs a diner from VND500,000 to VND1 million for dinner.

For further information, contact Si Restaurant at 7A Ngo Van Nam Street in HCMC’s District 1, tel: 08 3829 6066.

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