Friday, 11 October 2013

Spices: The Refinery (Vietnam)

Since Vietnam was under French rule before, it was not a surprise to find French Bistros around the city. From affordable hole in the wall places to up scale fine dining restaurants. We decided to have lunch at a mid-priced casual French bistro and wine bar, The Refinery.

The Refinery

The bistro's yellow painted walls induced a very warm and cozy vibe.

Bar at The Refinery

During weekends the resto offers a special brunch menu, one can choose to have a Full or Mini Brunch.I went for a Full Brunch that costs 330,000 VND (around 675php)

Weekend Brunch Menu

To go with our Full Brunch, we decided to pick a white wine from the long and extensive wine list. We wanted to order a full bottle but since it was still too early we just ordered by the glass.

Gentil by the glass - 144,000 VND around 295php

The Brunch came with Fresh Juice, I initially wanted Watermelon but none was available and I ended up having Passion Fruit Juice instead.

Fresh Passion Fruit Juice

To start off a basket of home made breads, bagel and danish was served. The breads came with Cream Cheese, Honey, Butter, Marmalade and Jam. The breads might look common and ordinary but each piece of home-baked bread was exceptional. The toasts have a slight crunch and moist center, the bagel was super soft and chewy and the danish was deliciously flaky.

Home Baked Breads and Spreads

There were different choices for the main course, all of which came with Fresh Sautéed Spinach and Roasted Tomato. I chose to have The Refinery's Egg Benedict. Poached Eggs on Toast with Ham and doused with Hollandaise Sauce. Everything on the dish was perfectly cooked, egg yolks were runny, toasts had the slight crunch, ham was smokey and what made the dish exceptionally well was the Hollandaise sauce. It was so smooth and creamy and it had a tinge of  that 'vinegar' sweetness and sourness flavor.

The Refinery's Eggs Benedict with Sauteed Spinach and Roasted Tomato

We order an additional dish of Parpadelle with Smoked Salmon, Fried Capers and Mustard Dressing. The pasta dish was disappointing, the pasta was a tad overcooked and the whole dish was so bland. For thick cut pasta like parpadelle, I would expect something like a heavy cream for it's sauce. This had slivers of smoked salmon and fried capers, I barely tasted the mustard dressing.

Parpadelle with Smoked Salmon, Fried Capers and Mustard Dressing

For dessert, we picked the Chocolate Mousse. Served in what looked like a cocktail glass, the mousse was pretty good. Velvety smooth, wasn't clawing sweet and it had that rich chocolatey flavor.

Chocolate Mousse

We finished our brunch with a cup of coffee. This is the first time I've heard and tried Punto Italia and this is one GREAT cup of espresso!!!. The crema was thick, coffee was very aromatic with a strong robust flavor without the bitter and sour aftertaste. I automatically fell in love with the coffee upon first sip.

Punto Italia Espresso

Though I was disappointed with the Parpadelle pasta dish, I still enjoyed the other dishes I tasted. If ever I'll get the chance to visit Ho Chi Minh again, I'll definitely go back and try out more dishes. The Refinery is a great place to spend a whole day in to lounge around, sip wine and partake on the bistro style food the resto serves.

The Refinery
Address: 74 Hai Ba Trung, Ben Nghe, Ho Chi Minh
Tel No: +84 8 3823 0509

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