In its newest reincarnation this French restaurant — a longtime expat favourite — lives up to expectations. By Michael Tatarski. Photos by Alex McMillan.

For anyone who had spent time in Vasco’s old music room, walking into Camargue, which recently took over the space, provides a bit of a jolt. Gone are the graffiti-plastered walls, the strobe lights and the DJ booth. In their place are a purple-and-white tapestry draped across the ceiling, windows that let in ample natural light, and a white grand piano.

Camargue’s yellow pastel walls and Fernando Botero paintings create a subtly Mediterranean atmosphere reflected in the menu. We visited for lunch, which comes with a number of great value options. A two-course meal is available for VND 260,000, while three courses cost VND 360,000. By fine dining standards, the portions are generous enough for sharing.

There are five a la carte starters to choose from, each for VND 100,000. The main courses are VND 200,000, and desserts are VND 100,000. We tried the cold cut platter with Basque piperade ketchup; a Nicoise salad with tuna, quail egg and vegetables; and poached shrimp in a coconut and galangal soup.

The cold cuts included salami and Black Forest ham, solid meats that could be combined with ketchup for a zestier kick. The salad was light on tuna, but otherwise very good, with a tangy dressing that added some character to the dish. The poached shrimp soup was a creamy emulsion reminiscent of molecular gastronomy.

For the main course we went for the salmon filet skewer with a lemongrass stick, seasonal vegetables cooked in a wok, grapefruits, and kaffir lime sauce. This dish brought together an array of Mediterranean influences, as well as an Asian touch of lemongrass and stir-fried vegetables. The salmon was succulent and tender, and the accompanying sauce and vegetables worked together to create one seriously good dish.

Every dessert option at Camargue is enticing, and deciding on just one was difficult, but we finally settled on the lychee panna cotta with marinated raspberry. Served in a cocktail glass, the panna cotta is beautifully presented, and it tastes as good as it looks. The creamy dessert was rich without being overpowering, and acted as an excellent palate cleanser after a satisfying meal.

74/7D Hai Ba Trung, D1
08 35 20 48 88
11am to 2pm Monday to Friday,
6 to 11pm seven days
www.vascosgroup.com

 

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