Bury Me In Food

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Augustin – French cuisine in Vietnam March 18, 2010

I’m in Vietnam.  A plethora of dining choices.  Hot bowls of pho, crusty breads – filled with pickled vegetables, pork and pate, freshly steamed rice noodles and I go to a French restaurant.  I don’t think it’s that much of a stretch, they have a huge french influence due to the French colonization…so why not have some French cuisine?

The restaurant we went to was listed in the Lonely Planet guide, so we thought it shouldn’t be too shabby.

We started the evening with some very pricey cocktails (about $13 including tax – which is very pricey considering you can buy a bowl of very delicious filling bowl of pho with meat balls and beef for $2) at the Sheraton sky bar.  The view from the hotel was absolutely magnificent, basically 270 degree view of the city.  Very formal though, people openned the doors for us, guided us to our seats and it was all very civilised.  I don’t think you’d see Speidi’s crew with the brosters downing shots here rowdily!  – Sorry about that…I’ve been totally addicted to the Hills recently…and if you have no idea what I’m talking about, you haven’t lost that much, so just don’t worry.

After our pricey drinks, we hopped across the road, walked around the corner or two and ended up at Augustin.  It was a very small restaurant, with air-con, table linens and all the waitresses were wearing a uniform.  It was by no means elegant interior, if I were in Australia, I may consider it old fashioned…like I was in a granny’s sitting room.  All the same, I’d spent the last couple of days sitting on plastic stools, wiping all my cutlery before I eat, so this felt very luxe indeed.

The menu was extensive, they had a menu of local meats, and imported meats and everything was reasonably priced.

For entree, I ordered the crab gratin which came plated on a crab shell.  The plating was rather rudimentary, your basic tomatoes and cucumber laid out, I felt like I was at a Chinese chicken shop.  Regardless, the food was delicious, the crab was real crab, definitely NOT seafood extender and sweet, it wasn’t too heavily ladened with cream either.  KK, who is not a big foodie was even rolling her eyes in ecstasy.  COC’s entree of clam soup was rich and full of clams, delicious, but she couldn’t finish it, so I helped.

We had all chosen duck as our mains, cooked in various ways. KK had ordered duck with cream which was a simple duck breast, served with a cream sauce and fries – because they’re FRENCH fries.  I had been tossing up between ordering this instead of the duck I ended up with, and I am glad I went with my eventual choice.  The duck breast was fine, cooked well, not dry but the sauce was just strange.  It had the look of a creamy mushroom sauce, but even now, I can’t place the strange cream sauce that it was.  KK seemed to enjoy it though.

COC’s duck l’range was very sweet, certainly the sweetest duck l’range I’ve ever had, almost syrupy, but went nicely with the duck breast.

I’d ordered duck confit (which came oddly, with no sauce) but it was fall of the bone delicious.  The duck leg was tender and the skin crisp and full of fatty goodness, I definitely couldn’t complain.  I thought the mash potatoes were really strange though, they were very, very sweet and wasn’t buttery like the mash I was used to.  Having said that, I still finished off the plate…so I guess it couldn’t have been that bad.

We’d also ordered a rose between the three of us, and some mineral water and we ended up dropping about $20 each for the whole thing.  Not too bad considering I’d pay more than that for just an entree here!

Augustin |10 D Nguyen Thiep | Dong Khoi Area, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


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