Vietnam has more than just local Vietnamese food. French cuisine in Vietnam is as famous as its local food. As Vietnam was colonized by French, they definitely had some influences on the food. People have told me that I had to try, at least once, a French meal during my stay in Vietnam, because it could be as authentic as France. As this is fancier than any other restaurants in the city, of course we saved it for special occasion.
The menu at La Villa for lunch and dinner are the same, except there’s a lunch special prix fixe during lunch service. The restaurant is located in District 2, which is quite a villa residential area full of foreigners. The owner transformed their house into a restaurant, where there’s a swimming pool outdoor! It only has around 10 tables inside, and around 2 to 3 tables by the pool outside, hence reservation is recommended.
The restaurant offers various set menus and a la carte. Honestly, go for set menus, it’s worth it (price-wise too). My father and brother opted for the Discovery Menu (6-course), and my mother and I went for the Menu de La Villa (4-course).
The amuse bouche was served as soon as we placed the order. They’re one-bite sized treats. I knew we were at the right place after taking the first bite!
Another amuse bouche? Yes! It’s parma ham, watermelons and melons balls served with red wine jello at the bottom. Parma ham with melons are safe combination, but pairing with watermelons? It gives the extra sweetness and juiciness. The red wine jello was a bit too alcoholic for me, but my brother thought it was a nice kick at the end.
Then, the staff came with a basket full of house-baked bread! There are breadsticks, olive buns, and mini baguette. They were warm, thick and crisp outside, but fluffy inside (except the breadstick)! I loved the olive buns. Another perk, it’s unlimited.
The starter of the Discovery menu was pan fried foie gras served with poached fig in Muscat wine, and salted honey caramel. The foie gras was perfect! Pan-seared to golden brown on both sides, and slightly pink inside. The fats allowed it to form a thin crispy crust on the surface, while the inside is super smooth. The fat melts at just below body temperature, which slowly melting away when it goes into the mouth. It’s plain and simple, but delicious when it’s fresh. It’s decadently rich with a distinct sweetness, and pairing with fig just enhanced the sweetness further.
The starter of the Menu de La Villa was foie gras terrine. This is the original foie gras terrine. My mother had it with raspberry (they had it on that day). Terrine, the purist experience of foie gras, is another method of preparing foie gras. The entire raw liver is packed into a terrine mold, and cooked at low temperature in a water bath. It yields a very rich and buttery taste.
This is part of the Discovery menu, which is the Roasted Brittany French lobster with olive oil sautéed vegetables, served with orange and anis butter. The lobster was very fresh, highly doubt that it was in the freezer for a long period of time, because the meat was springy yet firm. First time to have lobster pairing with oranges! The citrusy flavor definitely worked really well!
Discovery menu is fancy that there’s an “interlude” between seafood and meat. It’s served to clear your palates in between different types of proteins. At La Villa, they are going strong. It’s a green apple sorbet with vodka. PURE VODKA!
The main course of the Discovery menu was roasted Spanish pork loin, served with sautéed brussels sprouts and daube juice. The pork is quite of a lean cut of the pig, but almost one of the tenderest, if prepared properly. The chef definitely nailed this. It wasn’t overcooked, and the meant was juicy and tender.
Menu de la Villa has two choices for the mains, and my mother and I got one of each. One of it was the pan fried French duck breast. It was quite a thick-cut of duck breast. It may looked quite raw, but it was actually not. It was easy to chew, not overcooked!
I had the grilled sea bass filet, served with artichokes, and squid ink tagliatelle. The fish was fresh and tender, and can be easily flaked off with the fork. The tagliatelle was al dente, definitely made the entire dish more filling. The creamy sauce wasn’t too rich, and complemented the entire dish well!
After the meal, before desserts, here comes the cheese trolley! From soft cheese to hard cheese, and mild to strong, they got everything! You can try as much as you want.
The cheeses are served with homemade jams, grapes, and walnuts. I love cheese, so this was definitely a nice treat.
The cheese wasn’t the end of the meal! There’s still dessert. The dessert of the Discovery menu was the chocolate sphere. The presentation surprised me. To be honest, I didn’t expect it to be so delicate! It’s dark chocolate with vanilla ice cream in the middle.
They poured the chocolate upon serving, which melted the exterior, and exposed the filling inside!
The dessert of Menu de la Villa was the pistachio and raspberries eclair. I’m not a fan of eclair or any forms of puff, but I’ll take it when there’s pistachio! It was crisp on the outside, and filled with smooth pistachio cream.
Of course, there was the petit four, which are small bite-sized confectionery that are served at the end of the meal.
Overall, the entire experience was outstanding! It definitely lived up the hypes and recommendations online. Each dish exceed my expectations. The ambiance was classy yet cozy. It made us felt like dining at a friend’s. The staffs were all super friendly and knowledgeable about the food. I know that lots of delicious street food out there, but it’s always nice to pamper yourself and your travel partners to a nice restaurant during the trip!
14 Ngo Quang Huy, Thao Dien Ward, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Tel: +84 (8) 3989-2082 (Reservation strongly recommended)