This colourful Vietnamese bistro is taking local cuisine to another level. Review and photos by Brett Davis.
Located facing the park across Han Thuyen Street in District 1 and right next door to Au Parc, Propaganda Vietnamese Bistro is well situated for the lunch-hour crowd, expats and tourists alike.
The bright and colourful interior takes its cue from the famous propaganda art posters and the framed prints and huge mural painted on the wall give a great sense of place.
Both Propaganda and Au Parc are under the stewardship of young French manager Cindy Kawak whose enthusiasm for the new venture is obvious. “This is not fusion food,” she says of Propaganda’s menu. “We are taking traditional Vietnamese dishes and ingredients you find here, and giving it a lift.”
This is achieved by focusing on fresh, quality ingredients, making dishes like the fresh spring rolls to order and producing other items in-house.
The fresh spring rolls are the most popular item on the menu and the seven combinations listed are set to be expanded. Combinations include tofu, rice noodles, greens and soy sauce (VND 60,000) and duck in betel leaf and spicy ginger with fish sauce (VND 90,000).
We tried the omelette, avocado, brown rice and soy sauce rolls (VND 70,000) which were light but full of flavour. There are a generous 10 pieces to each serve and the rolls come sliced and presented in a similar fashion to sushi rolls.
There is a good range of veggies and salads, and the Propaganda brown rice salad (VND 70,000) with palm hearts, roasted tomatoes, pumpkin seeds and corn is probably the standout. The finely chopped mint tossed throughout the salad really gives it a lift.
Most people have tried bun thit nuong (VND 85,000) at some stage, but here it really is something extraordinary. All the recognisable elements are there, but it is the quality of the ingredients that make it so good here.
Finally, some pan-fried home-made tofu on a green peppercorn sauce (VND 60,000)was again served up in generous portions.
Propaganda also has two wine and food discovery set menus (VND 450,000) pairing wines from their list with four courses of food. Between 5 and 8pm each day guests receive a complimentary tasting plate with every bottle of wine purchased.