As you’d expect, there’s a plethora of French restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City. Luckily for me, I’d done my foodie research before I commenced my travels and knew that Le Corto was a French bistro hitting all the right culinary notes and was definitely worth visiting. If it’s good enough for the then French President Francoise Hollande to stop by during his visit to the country in 2016, then it’s certainly good enough for the likes of little old me.
Located in the heart of the suave and sophisticated area of District One called Ben Nghe Ward, Le Corto has the French decor and ambience to match its surroundings. The dining space is quite large with a red, black and grey colour scheme running through it and a polished bar area serving cocktails and an extensive list of wines, of course.
Wherever you look in the menu it is filled with the quintessential produce and terminology found in all high-quality French bistros – foie gras, veal, duck leg, pigeon, truffle, souffle, parfait, confit. My mouth was of course pretty much salivating at this point! The chef sent out a few starters for us including Tofu Parfait with Scallops Carpaccio, Salmon Eggs, and a Citrus and Herb Dressing. It takes a real brave chef to serve tofu in a fine-dining restaurant but I have to say that the chef did it complete justice. The plate looked beautiful and tasted delicious, with lots of flavour sensations in each bite. We also had the French classic of Pan Fried Foie Gras served with Polenta, Fresh Mango and Green Apple with a Port Wine Jus.
I’m a bit hesitant when it comes to foie gras purely because I find it a little too rich for my taste yet the fruit work well to cut through the richness and the texture of the polenta also gives the dish another added element. It was a really nice dish, if a little too decadent.
Because of the searing heat outside, for drinks we kept it alcohol free and went with a couple of mocktails – Le Corto’s Special (Cucumber, Lime, Pineapple, Soda) and Rambling Rose (Watermelon, Strawberry, Lime.) Both cocktails were refreshing and delicious, perfect for a searing hot day!
My guest had the Black Angus Beef Rib-Eye with Kampot Black Peppercorn Sauce. In my eyes, it’s hard to go wrong with steak yet of course that isn’t true at all as there’s nothing worse that an overcooked piece of beef that is as rubbery as a dog’s chew toy. This steak, thankfully, was cooked to a perfect medium-rare and was of the quality you’d expect from a Black Angus steak. It was a great steak and the sauce was also fabulous.
With it being a super hot day in Vietnam, we decided to forego dessert and ended our meal on a high.
The Tofu starter was 360,000 Dong (£12.44/$15.47) and the Foie Gras starter was 380,000 Dong (£13.14/$16.33.) The Le Corto’s Special Mocktail was 100,000 Dong (£3.46/$4.30) and the Rambling Rose was 90,000 Dong (£3.11/$3.87.) The Duck main was 395,000 Dong (£13.65/$16.98) and the Beef main was (685,000 Dong (£23.68/$29.44) with a side of French Fries 85,000 Dong (£2.94/$3.65.)
The total was 2.095M Dong or £72.37/$90.03. For a fine-dining style establishment serving modern French cuisine with high quality ingredients and produce, this is a great price for a 2 course meal for two in my opinion. It is by no means cheap yet in the Western world this would be considered a bargain or a steal! Yet it’s important to bear in mind that we didn’t have alcohol which would have made it more expensive of course but perhaps by £10 or so for two cocktails.
Le Corto is a fabulous French bistro that champions high-quality dishes that will satisfy all foodies that come to Ho Chi Minh. The menu is full of Classic and Modern French dishes that look beautiful and taste delicious. The portions are also a great size so you won’t feel short-changed at the end.
If you are in Ho Chi Minh City then I highly recommend you visit Le Corto for some exquisite food and French wine in smart yet relaxed atmosphere.