I have never had a bad meal in Vietnam, especially in Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City. During my last trip, my companions and I ventured into a spacious but quiet courtyard, the former historical center of the prosperous opium trade. Today, it has taken the form of The Refinery Bar & Restaurant. The front terrace hints of an old, charming French bistro with high ceilings, custom-made furniture and subdued soft lighting. It has floral floor tiles, and sepia-colored photos in between an extensive collection of wine, spirits, and liquor displayed on shelves.
The menu declares that the French cuisine and modern European dishes are homemade from scratch, from bread and pastries to dressing and sauces. We began with French Onion soup, and proceeded to a selection of free-range duck confit with rosemary, apples and mashed potatoes, pork cutlets with mushroom, bacon and cream sauce with spices, and roasted sea bass gremolata with warm lentils and a mint salad. Dessert was the signature The Refinery Frozen Cheesecake and the must-try warm Chocolate Pudding with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Toasted Almonds. It felt as if we were dining in a street café in Paris.
DINING IN A MOVIE SET
On our second evening, we navigated to The Temple Club. Neither a temple nor a private club, it is a guesthouse alongside a Hindu Temple. Tucked away in a colonial-era heritage building with only a tiny, red signage, we