Le Cafe Ban Vat Sene was a chance discovery when a rainy evening in Luang Prabang forced a rethink of dining plans. And a very nice discovery too, as the meal enjoyed in what is a beautifully maintained colonial villa made for a surprisingly pleasant change from the until then habitual Laotian dinners in one of the town's many open-air riverside eateries.
Despite offering a few local dishes, the menu ultimately has a distinctly Gallic feel, with a delicious selection of quiches, tartines and the like. The prices may not be the cheapest around (although it is also hardly the most expensive spot competing for the tourist dollar in town), and paying a little extra was more than justified by the quality of the food and the discreetly efficient nature of the service, both of which felt very much in keeping with the elegant setting.
The experience at dinner was impressive enough to make breakfasting at the cafe an appealing option too, and for a second time it did not disappoint. Again the morning menu has a similarly French feel, favouring baguettes and croissants of a quality that might not be reasonably expected so far from the streets of Paris. The coffee also proved to be pretty decent, whilst the excellent opportunity to people watch from an outside table was the icing on the cake.
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