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This Gallic restaurant at the corner of Thai Van Lung and Ly Tu Trong, Le Bouchon  is well on its way to becoming one of Saigon’s finest. Photos by Alex Belikov.

My steadfast Francophilia aside, I was champing at the bit to try Le Bouchon de Saigon since I’d heard nothing but praise for the newly opened eatery. With experienced Alexis and Jenny Melgrani at the helm—and former Evason Ana Mandara and Six Senses, Nha Trang head chef David Thai on board, too—Le Bouchon boasts a stunning collection of authentic French dishes with fresh, organic ingredients.

The menu, titled La Gazette du Bouchon de Saigon, includes tongue-in-cheek daily quotes and a black and white caricature of chef Alexis that guests are invited to ‘be creative with’.

We whet our palates with the homemade foie gras terrine (270,000 VND). The melt-in-your mouth dish—Chef Alexis’ secret recipe—is served on large pieces of baguette with a simple side of greens.

Next up is the fresh and smoked salmon tartare (160,000 VND). The succulent salmon sits in a pool of cream sauce infused with shallots and lime. Not wanting to waste a drop of the superb sauce, we use some fresh baguette to mop up the excess.

We are then served the roasted jumbo tomato with warm goat cheese, crowned with a delicately rolled piece of Parma ham (170,000 VND). We also sample the fabulous pan-seared sea bass, cherry tomato risotto and basil bisque sauce (220,000 VND), a recipe, Alexis says, that pays homage to his mother.

The chicken fricassee with mushroom risotto (360,000 VND) is my hands-down favourite. This slow-cooked dish, featuring tender chicken and juicy, flavourful forest mushrooms, is topped with a tasty Parmesan biscuit. We end on a pretty spectacular note with the luscious chocolate mousse sprinkled with toasted almonds.

Le Bouchon’s Gallic influence can be observed throughout the buzzing bistro: red and white checked tablecloths hang over each table and turn of the century French posters adorn the walls. Staff are warm and attentive despite having to juggle plates as they whiz around the packed room. A word of warning to those who are contemplating popping in: be sure to reserve a table beforehand.

Thanks to its upbeat music and animated crowd, you might want to hang around for a few more drinks after your meal. But the restaurant will not let you forget its slogan, which is even emblazoned on the windows: “What happens in Le Bouchon stays in Saigon…”

40 Thai Van Lung, District 1
Tel: 3829 9263

Open Monday through Thursday from 11am until 10pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 11am until 11pm with a break between 2.30 and 5.30 pm.

Find Le Bouchon de Saigon on AsiaLIFE