The name threw me; I must be honest My Chicken Run is not a name to inspire culinary confidence. Perhaps because I have mucked out actual chicken runs, I associate the name with, well, unappetizing things.
A new eatery has opened in the Press Club Building featuring a menu by two-star Michelin chef Alain Dutournier. With over 40 years of experience in the French culinary world, Chef Dutournier has branched out of France for the first time with La Table Du Chef, looking to bring his brand of haute French cuisine to Hanoi.
“Sorry, I’m eating lobster thermidor and drinking chardonnay,” is not a text message I ever thought I would send in response to a coffee invite, until I went to the wine brunch at Oven d’Or. This place understands Sundays on a level that I have not quite seen before. There’s a fondue station with not one, but two kinds of chocolate fountains, a crepe and waffle counter, an entire suckling pig laid out for carving, an a la carte grill, a sushi bar, and, of course, the help-yourself booze table.
Situated in a prime location in District 1, Lavastone BBQ & Cocktail House blends into the bustle of the area with its full-length glass front framed by black-painted steel. The space inside has an American industrial ambience combined with classic European-style twists, making the place both attractive yet unusual. The Japanese elements — Japanese rice wine kept cool in a container at the front door and the upstairs furnished with Japanese-style chairs and tables, adds to the effect.
If this restaurant had a mascot, it would be butter. “When in doubt, just chuck some butter in it,” laughs Chef Patrick Morris, and he’s right. Rich and heavy, every dish wraps you in the comfort of American-style steakhouse decadence.
A 12-year veteran of the Saigon scene, La Habana maintains its charming, Spanish-terrace-inspired premises in District 1. Any night of the week, just off the main drag of Hai Ba Trung and along Cao Ba Quat, you’ll hear live music floating from its cavernous entertainment area. On the Thursday night we visited, it was ballad night, and a regular band from the Philippines were filling the place.
I’ve eaten at Le Corto three times, the first two times with the owners. On the third occasion I went unannounced with a friend. What I was told before turned out to be correct; thanks to their reasonably priced set lunch (VND180,000 for two courses, VND250,000 for three), even their lunchtimes are busy at the moment. It was a Tuesday and we were lucky to get a table.