Taste Vietnam | +84.235.3911.227
Cargo Club - the European-style café, restaurant and patisserie
“Before opening Cargo Club I had to search far and wide to find the right staff to cook and serve an international menu of dishes. My first chef came from Saigon and had worked in an Italian restaurant at a five star hotel. Together we designed a menu that included classic Italian dishes such as pizza and pastas in addition to other European mains.
“In 2000, I was given the opportunity to go to Australia. Although I thoroughly enjoyed all of my time there – specifically, visiting various restaurants, my favourite pastime was to watch people sitting in cafés, enjoying conversations with each other over coffee and pastries.
I became very inspired to create a similar style of café to what I had seen along Brunswick Street and Lygon Street in Melbourne. When I came back to Vietnam, I was so excited by this idea that I immediately started contacting suppliers in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) about industrial equipment and ingredients that would be needed for a bakery. In fact, I was so sure that the idea would be a success that I immediately invested money in the baking equipment: a roller, mixers and ovens.
In 2001, I was lucky to find a French couple who had been helping orphans in Hue by teaching them how to become skilled pastry chefs and bakers. After talking with them, they agreed to teach me the fundamentals of baking and I hired additional staff to specialise in becoming bakers and pastry chefs. We learned how to bake bread and various pastries such as croissants, Danish pastries, glazed tarts and cakes. In February 2003, I opened the Cargo Club on Nguyen Thai Hoc Street; a great location that had street and riverside access and views.
Before opening Cargo Club I had to search far and wide to find the right staff to cook and serve an international menu of dishes. My first chef came from Saigon and had worked in an Italian restaurant at a five-star hotel. Together we designed a menu that included classic Italian dishes such as pizza and pastas in addition to other European mains. In the first few years after Cargo opened, I had a number of visiting chefs who all helped expand the main dining menu. I have had chefs from Australia, France, Malaysia, Spain and the United States and each brought new styles and influences to the kitchen. I had a mix of Asian, French, Mexican and Middle Eastern dishes added to an existing core menu of Italian food in addition to the bakery and patisserie. I was serving an array of sandwiches and sweets, as well as coffees, juices and cocktails.
When Cargo Club started featuring in major guidebooks like the Lonely Planet, I knew I had achieved my dream of creating a successful European style café and restaurant.”