Saturday, January 9, 2010

Vietnamese French Cuisine in La Verticale - Hanoi, Vietnam

La Verticale is a Vietnamese French restaurant owned by Didier Colou, a reknown French chef in Hanoi. His portforlio revealed that he had been cooking for kings and royalties in Asia. His interest in the region's spices and meddling with Asian spices into French cooking made Didier's cooking refreshing.

HY and I followed the map that led us from our hotel pass a couple of main roads and some smaller streets, that weren't exactly well lit, before we finally reached La Verticale. The restaurant building itself, in it's French style 3 storey architecture, was a pretty sight, especially under the luminance of the surrounding light.

We didn't know exactly where to go and we budged into the first floor into where they sell and store their spices. It happened that we met Didier, face to face but we didn't know who he was and how he looked liked then. He got one of his staff to usher us to an empty table. We realised that we were quite lucky to get a table without making any reservations. If we were a little later, we'll have to trod back out of the impressive restaurant that we already took a liking.

Inside Verticale, it's warm lights, cosy ambience and obliging gentle hospitality makes you feel welcome.

I was most impressed with Verticale's amuse bouche. In this case, we were "tickled" at the mouth twice before starters.

The Amuse Bouche

The fried fish cheeks was fabulous especially when we
ate it after the light, chilled cucumber sticks, dipped into
fish sauce and spiced sea salt. This amused me!

As we thought that our starters will come next, the hot
seafood soup and chilled tomato soup came.
The soup wouldn't taste extraordinary, on their own.
I felt that having them side by side, drinking a spoonful
of each alternatively made this amuse bouche interesting.


The Vietnamese rolls looked appealing to me and had
3 implentations. A fried version, a fresh one with mushrooms
and my favourite, the fresh spring rolls with fresh sweet prawns.

"Tokyo Hanoi" iodise broth sounded interesting to us.
This seafood soup had a unique fishy taste.
Unfortunately, a creation that I couldn't appreciate.


I picked the "Wagyu" and foie gras combination dish in
the menu that my taste buds was inclined to at that moment.
I was delighted when I saw the big chunk of foie gras lying
over the beef. The sauce that was created with the Yunnan morels
(Chinese truffles) blends well with the beef. and the foie gras.

This is a close up of the "Wagyu" beef which I suspect wasn't Wagyu
but beef tenderloin. Nevertheless, it was still well cooked and juicy.

I wasn't a fan of foie gras terrine, but pan fried or grilled foie gras was
another matter altogether. The foie gras was light salted and
peppered well. This one won me with two thumbs up.

HY ordered a duck mains. The pan seared duck fillet was done well.
The duck was prepared wel, without the "ducky" smell that she
absolutely dislike. Don't know how chefs out there do it. Duck
dishes that I cooked always smell "ducky".

The duck mains came with this duck spring roll and foie gras.


My all bananas dessert came in the following 3 implementations.
The banana cake was my favourite. Soft and absolute bananas.

La Verticale is one of the top French restaurant in Hanoi if not the best. Their hospitality was impeccable. Prompt and gentle service put them tops in terms of overall dining experience. I thought it's a "must-try" French restaurant in Hanoi.

19 Ngo Van So Street
Hoan Kiem District
Hanoi, Vietnam
(040) 3944 6317

1 comment:

Catherine said...

Thank you for sharing your French food experience at la Verticale. I really fell in love with the grilled Foie Gras :) Beautiful picture.

French online


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