Run by a lovely husband and wife team – he’s Front of House, she’s in the kitchen cooking up a storm, this absolute gem is tucked away in a District 3 Hem away from the tourist crowds. Trained in France and bringing their skills home to Vietnam, the cooking is thoughtful and classic french food using the finest ingredients.
The ambiance of Atelier Des Rêves is inviting and homely, while maintaining that french sophistication. Every detail has been thought of, from the embroidered linen place mats to the beautiful mismatched crockery. Messages of hope, happiness and the love of food are quite literally written on the walls. There were a lot of french accents coming from the other customers which I suppose could be a testament to the authenticity of the dishes created here.
The menu offers terrific value if a set meal is chosen, and there are options of “decouverte”, meat and fish menus. A la carte is available too. On this occasion a lighter meal was needed after a heavy week of Saigon Bites discovery missions, so the fish menu was chosen.
Each time I visit this restaurant (and yes I’ve been quite a few times now for any special occasion I can think of including “well it’s near-ish to the airport so we could go on the way”), I comment that I would be so happy with just a bowl of the appetizer soup. This time it was broccoli and zucchini served with a mackerel salad toast, and did not disappoint.
The starter of rich artichoke cream with a lightly poached egg, some crispy bits of tortilla and a rich truffle oil toast was delicious. The truffle did not overpower the delicate flavour of the artichoke.
Next was the Nha Trang lobster risotto which although costing a premium of 50k VND was absolutely incredible. So much lobster flavour in the rice and the meat was cooked perfectly. I would just wish for the portion to be a little bit bigger especially if paying a premium.
The other main course option was a pan fried red mullet (chosen from a choice of this or parrot fish – but I couldn’t bring myself to eat something I’ve seen nibbling away at a coral reef). The sauce was savoury but not too salty, and was scraped off the plates with more bread! So much bread!!
Cheese of the day included a camembert, brie and chevre and these were served with a strange but nice combination of raspberry jam and cashews (and of course. bread).
By the time dessert came it was a struggle to eat anything else! But succeed we did. The banana tart and rum baba were exemplary creations and we were left happy and satisfied.
The smiling and gracious chef came to greet us as we were leaving. I complimented her on the risotto, asking if it was finished with a lobster oil. Upon correcting me that it was actually the addition of lobster butter that made the risotto so delicious, she then quickly added “…And love!” Honestly I couldn’t say it better myself.
Dinner – Menu de poisson – 595k VND per person