My friend and I were in two minds - whether we should go for a traditional Vietnamese or a French dinner in HCMC. Eventually the fact that it has a very large wine cellar tilted the scale in favour of TG. It is not located in the hotspot of tourism- District 1, but I guess that adds to the charm. The restaurant is located completely unpretentiously in a small lane and occupies a large villa. We were welcomed very warmly by Joel, the manager of the place- initially who I thought was the owner Gils- in French accents Joel and Gils sounded the same to my untrained ear. The wine cellar is impressive, very impressive. What wouldn't I give to have something like that - and I was told another 8,000 (yes!) are expected within the next few weeks.
The food was excellent. The place has a concept of 3 set meals the only difference being in the number of starters (1, 2 or 3). The meal started with scrambled egg with truffle sauce. The small size of it did make us a little wary (more about that later). It tasted amazing. This was followed by our starters (2 each). We had the smoked salmon (smoked in-house), cabbage duck in goose liver sauce, scallops with potatoes and truffle oil and lamb lasagne. By the end of the starters the small helping of the scrambled eggs was a distant memory. All the 4 starters were great but the cabbage duck and scallops stood out. To change the taste we were given some lemon sorbet. The next course was the main course. I had port with foie gras and my friend - lamb shoulders. Both were excellent. This was followed by some cheese and the finale was dessert- dessert de Gils and another one (can't remember the name). Our wine as a Chateau Matras, St. Emillion- a great recommendation from Gils (the owner) who kindly gave us a short tour of the cellar.
My friend and I had a great time in the restaurant. He and I were there almost till midnight talking to Joel about France, wine and Montpellier- where Joel hails from and coincidentally one of the 2 cities in France where I have been - even Joel was surprised that I had been there.
Would love to go back in my next trip to HCMC. And will recommend it any day.
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