Monday, 20 July 2015

Saigon Special

Our final stop on this mammoth two week trip was Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City as it is now known.

On our first evening we chose to dine with a friend at Propaganda. This was such a cute little Vietnamese restaurant a short walk from the Notre Dame Cathedral. We went for a main course each, four Saigon special beers, a still water and a glass of wine for the bargain price of £35! I tried the sauteed prawns with Vietnamese basil and coconut broken rice, which was delicious. The portion size wasn't huge but it was more than satisfying. Our friend went for the shaken beef shank with sweet potato fries, which was a generous and delicious tasting dish. Finally the other half opted for the BBQ honey pork chop with pandan leaf broken rice, which he chowed down before anyone could try! The restaurant had inside and outside dining space and very friendly staff.

A short taxi ride or a 10-15 mins walk from here was a wicked martini bar 2 Lam Son at the Park Hyatt hotel. It's very loud at the weekend and is busy but we managed to find seats propped up against the bar. If you want table service there will be a minimum spend. The bar is dark with lots of wood and has incredible martini's. I tried a passion fruit, a lychee was definitely ordered although this was very strong and the lemon grass was delicious but the options were endless. I would definitely recommend coming here for a drink, although three cocktails will set you back as much as a dinner at Propaganda so it's not a cheap Saigon option.

Our final evening was spent fine dining alone at La Villa French Restaurant. This is a villa with a lovely pool and romantically lit garden. You can choose to sit inside or outside here. The restaurant is Michelin starred quality and is voted number one in Ho Chi Minh City. We chose a tasting menu for 1,290,000 VND per person and it was an incredible treat. Firstly we were given a selection of four amuse bouche. We had a mini leek and potato soup as well as some other delicious treats. Then we had a mini starter of steak tartar with quails egg. We followed this with crab ravioli in a foie gras sauce, which was incredible. Throughout the meal there were also several opportunities to grab a selection of homemade breads. My favorite was the olive flavored.

The next course was scallops and this was followed by beef tenderloin cooked to your specification. We finished this with a cheese trolley, which had around thirty different cheeses to try and a chocolaty dessert that was delicious. After all of this food we were then presented with a selection of petit fours, a small cup of tea and a liquor. I really wish I had taken my camera as every course was delightful and definitely photo worthy. The wine and cocktail list is also extensive so you will definitely find something to suit your taste!

Whilst this meal set us back over £100 it was so worth every penny and would have cost triple the amount in France or London. I would highly recommend anyone to come here for a treat date night as it's a beautiful location as well as having a fantastic selection of food and staff that will bend over backwards to provide a pleasant evening. A cab from district one will cost around 6 USD each way and takes about 15 mins but please don't be put off by the journey out of the central areas as it is honestly worth every second!