French fusion easy on the wallet
15A Ngo Van So, Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi
T: (04) 3944 0288
Fine dining restaurant La Verticale has been dishing up French and Vietnamese fusion cuisine from its 1930s villa since 2007. But for those whose wallets don’t stretch that far, founder and award-winning chef, Didieu Corlou, has opened a new venture a few doors away: DC Bistro.
DC Bistro, as you’d expect from the name, is a bistro-style restaurant: small, modest and serving up home-style dishes. While it might not be authentically French (according to a French friend of mine) it has a cosy ambiance and good value food which is enough to tempt diners back more than once.
Downstairs is mostly given over to a wine shop — which hints at the decent drink-in wine list — and has a small bar area at the back. The main dining room is upstairs and seats 20 or so covers. Decor is simple yet warm: solid, dark wood tables and chairs, burgundy banquette seating, an abundance of mirrors and french doors opening onto a pretty balcony.
The restaurant is open all day, but DC Bistro really comes into its own with its lunch sets. For only 138,000 VND (around $6.50) you’ll be treated to three courses, served up with a dish of crunchy bread and creamy butter. Choices change regularly but on our last visit I tried the delicious, and deceptively filling, pate and rillette starter while my dining partners tucked into less filling but equally tasty beef carpaccio.
The pork ‘cordon blue’ was declared the winning main, although the steak frites was a decent, if not particularly tender, hunk of meat served up on a wooden platter with some chunky chips. I chose badly with the beef parmentier: 90% mashed potato which left me needing a sleep all afternoon. Lunch was topped off with lemon tarts all round and washed down with a few Hanoi beers. Maybe that’s why I wanted to sleep.
If your stomach isn’t up to a three-course lunch then it’s possible to order one or two course from the set menu, but at only an extra 20,000 VND for the two extra courses it’s worth having a go.
The evening set menu, served from 18:00 to 22:00, is a bit pricier at 250,000 VND, and as yet untested by yours truly and friends. A la carte is also available at lunch and dinner, including a choice of tartares, casseroles and grilled meats.
DC Bistro is located in Hai Ba Trung district, on Ngo Van So, which runs off Ba Trieu Street. The set lunch prices make it an excellent value option, being not far off the price you could pay for an average Western meal in Old Quarter, and it’s not far to walk from sights like Hoa Lo Prison, the Women’s Museum and the 1930s architecture around Thien Quang Lake.
If it doesn’t sound like your kind of place, but you’re in the area, other great choices nearby include La Verticale (though it’s pricier) as well as Le Tonkin, a midrange Vietnamese restaurant with a wonderful courtyard which is over the road; also across Ba Trieu, on Ham Long, a small restaurant with pavement seating dishes up belly-filling noodles.
By Sarah Turner
Last updated on 17th September, 2014.