Don’t be fooled by the cute vintage signboard in front that says “CAFÉ LATTÉ”, there’s no espresso machine in sight. While flipping through the wood grain pages of the menu, the young RMIT student taking our order recommends the yoghurt drinks. But we persist in getting Vietnamese coffees (VND30,000 for a ca phe da, VND5,000 more for sua).
The coffee isn’t bad, but there isn’t much to recommend it. But that’s kind of missing the point of this café experience.
‘A Romantic Place’
There are several different wall textures: brick, white tile, wood, concrete, brick painted with owl mascot by architect-owner Ngoc. Birds chirp in the lane between the two halves of the café. Ceramic owls peer down from nooks in the two-storey wall. Tungsten bulbs dangle from uneven cords suspended from the ceiling at romantic intervals. As our waitress tells us, it’s “a romantic place”.
Poppy music echoes through the space, then in our heads for hours later. The hits they play are part of the experience. It’s an experience you can get at many of the cute, Vietnamese-orientated coffee shops around the city, but Bazaar does it well. In fact, well enough to charge Sunday afternoon photographers for shooting in its space. Places that succeed in what they’re trying are never redundant additions to our café options. — Ed Weinberg
Bazaar Coffee & Studio is at 175 Vo Thi Sau, Q3, HCMC, or at facebook.com/BazaarCoffeeShop