French cuisine is clearly a contender for the best, most revered cuisine in the world, so it’s always special to try a new French restaurant. Atelier des Reves, the Workshop of Dreams, is one such place. Only going for five months, online reviewers rave about its food and atmosphere. Getting out of Districts 1 and 2, home to 90 percent of the city’s top-end options, is a bonus.
Enter this restaurant and you are immediately struck by the understated white décor; the shelves of cookbooks and knick-knacks, and the widely separated tables. The place is popular, too; on my visit, almost every seat was filled, and the hum of spoken French filled the air with a comfortable, neighbourhood café vibe.
Sit down, and no sooner do you get the menus than a little amuse-bouche is delivered. This is followed by a breadbasket and a waiter greeting you in French, a nice gesture. For my visit, I and my dining partner decided to play it simple, choosing both of the menus de degustation and agreeing to split everything.
Classic French Choices
Option one (VND375,000) includes crab and avocado salad, boneless chicken thigh stuffed with pork and foie gras over Parmesan gratin, and pears Belle Helene for dessert. Option two, the more expensive choice at VND695,000, comes with crab and avocado salad, pan-seared scallops, pate de foie gras with fig bread, beef tenderloin with roasted potatoes and a choice of dessert. Both consist of items available on the a la carte menu.
Add to this an espresso (VND40,000), a San Pellegrino (VND50,000) and a Poire Williams pear brandy for after (VND130,000), and you are struck by the non-extortionate prices. French restaurants (except for Le Jardin), tend to be costly, at least by Vietnamese standards. Atelier Des Reves is very reasonable.
But beware. If you’re going for the degustation menu, remember, that’s exactly what it is. A tasting menu. So, portion sizes are small. But with five courses coming, this is still more than enough to fill you up. For the real deal, best to order a la carte.
And if you order steak, remember that you’re in a French restaurant. Rare means bleu, medium rare means very rare. I forgot about this little issue and my steak ended up rare. Not that it made a difference. A good tasty cut, perfectly cooked. I had nothing to complain about.
With so many French restaurants in District 1 and District 2, it’s nice to find a place that has settled for an alternative location. Le Bordeaux has been plying its trade in Binh Thanh for years. Now, Atelier des Reves offers a pleasant, alternative option in District 3.
Atelier des Reves is located at 20/5 Ky Dong, Q3. They are open from 11am to 11pm