I come back to Le Colonial now and then because it is generally a very elegant place to be. The cuisine is not a true "French-Vietnamese" cuisine, although there are some borrowing and exchanging of ideas. Traditional French-Vietnamese cuisine (very loosely defined) would have included French dishes re-interpreted in the Vietnamese way, rather than Vietnamese dishes using French techniques (this would be the territory of nouvelle cuisine vietnamienne...). At Le Colonial, the cuisine is really Vietnamese with some amateurish creativity involved. The appetizers and the sides are generally quite good, including the pho. The main dishes, though, are really odd. They lack "oomph" in flavor, and the presentation is on the unsophisticated side. The sea bass as well as the steak and shrimp main courses appear a tad sloppy. The sea bass dish is not bad, the steak and shrimp a bit amateurish and not very well thought out. Some other dishes tasted more Chinese than Vietnamese.
But hey, food tradition has to evolve, and there will be hits and misses. But at the end of the day, it was a great evening, service was excellent, and the pseudo-indochine décor was pleasant. Highly recommend, but know that this is an interpretation of Vietnamese cuisine.
And speaking of interpretation of Vietnamese cuisine outside of Vietnam - Indochine 1929 in Hong Kong is the best! Same general colonial atmosphere and decor, but the food is much more sophisticated.
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