A few times a year, Michelin-star chefs grace the shores of Vietnam with their gastronomic fare.
In a pristine setting on the banks of the Red River, The Clover at Ngoc Thuy is an innovative French fine-dining gourmet restaurant with a wine list to rival some of the best restaurants in Paris.
From a country with no knowledge of the cuisine beyond its borders, to a place that sports international cuisine from every corner of the globe. That is the fate of Vietnam in the 20 years since the US lifted the trade embargo.
As a cheese lover — nay, a cheese addict — I felt it was my duty to visit Le Padam, a cheese bar in District 2, which offers some of the best cheese you can find in Saigon. Owned by a French-Vietnamese couple, Cyrille and Ann, this new and unique French bistro emerged in the Saigon food scene a few months ago with the aim to offer some quality cheese — up to 14 different kinds — in a refined yet simple atmosphere.
Our masked gourmand ventures into one Vietnam’s consensus best spots to see what’s up. Photos by Trung Del
The problem with French food is that it’s just so good. If you’re cutting out carbs or restricting fats, I recommend you avoid this country’s cuisine altogether. On the other hand, what’s life without the good bits?
CLASSIC FRENCH / BUFFET
Sofitel Metropole Legend, 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3826 6919
6am to 10am, 11.30am to 2.30pm and 6.30pm to 10.30pm
10 Nam Ngu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3942 4509
On entering La Badiane, you are instantly caught by the multitude aromas coming from the open front kitchen. Then, surrounded by leaf plants, and predominantly white walls, the customer is struck by this venue’s calm and elegance. Although the dining experience at la Badiane is about the food, great attention is also paid to the ambience so you can enjoy every aspect of your meal. Voted one of Miele Guide’s Top 500 Restaurants in Asia.
11B Ngo Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3828 7207
10.30am to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10pm
Clean and fresh with a fine-dining vibe, the Millennium restaurant is the minimal and chic result of a Café Des Arts makeover. The street’s new go-to for a high standard of eating and drinking goes over two floors and has a welcome and inviting three-level outdoor terrace high up amid the concrete and cables of the Old Quarter.
12 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3926 1327
8am to 11pm
Thanks to its original tiled floor, cast iron backed chairs and wall-hung black and white photography, there is something decidedly charming about this tiny Parisian-styled bistro and bar. Serving up a simple menu of snacks such as quiche Lorraine, Paris beurre and croque monsieur, there is also a selection of classic but unpretentious French mains. Has a daily specials board and a decent range of pizzas.