Authentic French cuisine in Saigon


French cuisine seems very popular in Ho Chi Minh City judging from the many restaurants that are constantly springing up.

But to enjoy authentic French food in a luxurious setting, gourmets should look no further than L’Olivier Restaurant at the Sofitel Plaza Saigon Hotel, District 1, which deservedly enjoys the reputation of being among the best in town.

L’Olivier has rustic limestone walls, a modern lighting system, and, redolent of southern France and the Mediterranean many trees, some as tall as three meters.

The restaurant is divided into four parts: the main dining area, a terrace for those who enjoy eating outdoors, a spacious and well-lit garden, and two private dining areas for business meetings and family get-togethers.

À la carte menu at L’Olivier

The restaurant has brought together many outstanding chefs from Europe, especially France, including executive chef Tjaco van Eijken, who has been working in the food industry for more than 18 years.

He began as a junior sous chef at the 2-Michelin-star “La Rive” Restaurant in the Netherlands. Then, he joined Sofitel Demeure Hotel Castille in Paris where he became chef de cuisine at its Michelin-star fine dining restaurant Il Cortile.

L’OLIVIER RESTAURANT

2nd floor, Sofitel Saigon Plaza Hotel
17 Le Duan Street, District 1, HCMC
Tel: (08) 3 824 1555
Email: h2077-fb1@sofitel.com

After that he was executive chef for the Hotel InterContinental in Hongkong and the Sofitel Brussels Le Louise. After discovering an interest in Asian cuisine, he found Vietnam to be the place to undertake his new culinary adventure.

At L’Olivier he has designed a new à la carte menu with a Mediterranean touch featuring a selection of dishes to accommodate both the fast-paced business crowd and relaxed leisure guests.

The menu consists of authentic Mediterranean cuisines such as French, Italian, Spanish, and Moroccan.

It features starters like ravioli of crab and arugula, crispy vegetables, mixed herbs; custard of Parisian mushrooms served with watercress jus; and fried frog legs with snail butter. Then there is the irresistible roasted green asparagus with aged Parmesan cheese and balsamic reduction, supposed to be a delicacy in the new menu.

For the main course, the chef offers many different dishes to please all palates – such as tajine of poultry, green olives and lemon confit with couscous garnish from Morocco and roasted fillet of veal with creamy bacon, porcini, and potato gnocchi from Italy. The slow-cooked beef cheek, Provencal jus, and waffle potatoes comes highly recommended.

Last but not least is the array of mouth-watering desserts like cheeses, fruits, and chocolates. Customers are recommended to try some signature dishes such as exotic fruit with shiso jelly, yoghurt waffle potatoes sorbet, and crispy mango; and caramelized raspberries and strawberries, white chocolate dome, and orange sorbet.

L’Olivier serves the à la carte menu for business set lunch and dinner daily. Lunch is between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. and dinner is from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

It has had more than 12 Michelin Star chefs so far, including Jean-Baptiste Natali from Hostellerie de la Montagne Restaurant in Colombey les deux Eglises (Champagne), Ulrich Heimann from Le Ciel in Berchtesgaden (Germany), and, most recently, Gilles Reinhardt from Maison Paul Bocuse in Collonges (Lyon).

By Nguyet Anh, Thanh Nien News (The story can be found in the May 18th issue of our print edition, Vietweek)
Cream of garden peas and mint, fresh cheese, crispy vegetables served at L’Olivier Restaurant
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