The Botanic Pool and Café Bar – Phu Nhuan
It’s nice to be exclusive every now and again and that’s exactly what the Botanic Pool and Café Bar is. That’s not because it’s for the enormously rich and powerful but rather because it’s only open to the residents and guests of residents of the Botanic Towers. I won’t say which we are but let’s just say that we’re here almost every night. Thus it’s the bar we’re most qualified to review.
It’s in the middle of Phu Nhuan and it’s a right bugger to find if you don’t know where it is. The Botanic Tower is one of the tallest buildings around this district and every taxi driver knows where it is – as long as you can get the exact local-hybrid pronunciation of the name down pat. It’s right next to the swimming pool which sits at the rear of the building.
Well… we’re here every day but it’s not so much an unenthusiastic welcome most days as an absent one. There are often 6 members of staff on duty and only us as customers this doesn’t change the fact that you are more likely to catch the attention of the pentagon than you are the wait staff. Their ability to stare into space is unrivalled by any other group of people on earth, they should rent them out to the SETI project because they’re no bloody use to us.
Should you get served you will discover that not only can they not differentiate between the words “Tiger” and “Heineken” but they can’t read the universal finger sign for “two” either. This means that your first drink may take up to 20 minutes to arrive. It will be in a boiling hot can and if you’re lucky it may be accompanied with a glass full of ice.
The potential is huge but the reality is oh so lacking. The dreadful service combined with a menu on which every single item is sold out despite the fact they never have any customers ensures that we are the only regulars. It’s a shame because it’s adjacent to an awesome pool and has a very well maintained pool table on site too.
We also wonder why they are unable to chill a beer and why they look so surprised every single day that we would want a beer. The poor girl in the bar is regularly dispatched to buy beers (causing a 15 minute delay in getting one) because they seem unable to stock more than 2 cans at a time.
The Food and Drink
If you can get any food it’s normally very good though it often fails to come with rice. Thus cubed beef in pepper is served in an ashtray as 6 bits of beef and sod all else. We heartily recommend the chicken fried rice because they’ve not managed to work out how to do it without rice yet.
The beer is tinned but usually cool after exposure to the giant ice cubes they use and it’s cheap and better still on the doorstep. Having said that, we wouldn’t travel 150 meters to use it otherwise and we wouldn’t recommend a trip out to Phu Nhuan to try it either.