A cosy respite
Sapa hasn’t changed much over the last few years, but one new addition that stands out is The Hill Station. Located near the junction of Cau May and Muong Hoa Roads, it’s in the thick of things, but provides a cosy respite from the streets and hawkers outside.
Set on two floors, with a narrow open staircase in between, The Hill Station is a cafe-cum-deli-cum-wine bar, opened in late 2011. It specialises in platters of cold cuts and cheeses, with a good range of both. Platters are served up with plenty of delicious crusty bread, or opt for a sandwich, baguette or tasty panini — all with decent amounts of filling, a side salad and a serving of Dijon-style mustard, which really adds a kick. If you’re after something more hearty, the daily specials includes a soup, pasta, meat and fish dish: it’s a limited selection but hard to resist.
Of course, it’s not only a place to go to eat; the coffee is top notch — cakes are available — or accompany your cheese platter with a wine from the extensive collection, stored in a room on the second floor for customer perusal. We also tried the dried buffalo — great with beer apparently — and it’s good, but watch out for the super spicy chilli sauce.
If you’re heading off on a trek or to the train, take away picnics can be prepared: a sandwich, cake, drink costs 185,000 VND.
The Hill Station is not a large place, but that adds to its charm. Downstairs has comfy couches and tables and chairs, as well as a fireplace, and four small tables are located on the upper, mezzanine floor. You won’t get a valley or mountain view but it’s a good people-watching spot, with a large glass window along the wall on the upper floor. Decor is stylish but warm, with brick walls adorned with modern black and white drawings. Dried spices and locally produced jewellery are available to purchase.
This is just the sort of place Sapa has been lacking: a cosy joint with quality food and drink to set up base when it’s cold or foggy. A second location, more restaurant than cafe deli, is opening up on Fansipan Street.
By Sarah Turner
Last updated on 27th January, 2015.