HCMC Part II: A top-notch rustic French meal is near-impossible to find in KL, but Saigon's foodies are fortunate that Le Toit Gourmand (The House of Gluttons) serves exactly that.
Amuse bouche of scrambled eggs with black truffles. Rich and decadent.
Goose liver "spring roll." The foie gras terrine was pure perfection, encased in light, crisp pastry that provided a terrific textural contrast to the liver's creaminess.
Black pudding (pork blood sausage) with apple. A meaty treat, with a pleasant gaminess.
Calf sweetbreads with parsley. These fried thymus glands and pancreas are an acquired taste _ chewy, with a flavor similar to other offal. But since they're seldom available in KL, we have to order them whenever possible.
Shredded duck wrapped in cabbage with foie gras sauce. Tasted better than it looked _ succulent slices of duck confit, surrounded by a moat of savory foam. The cabbage simply provided the illusion that this might be a healthy recipe.
Beef cheeks with foie gras. Such a simple combo, it's a travesty that this recipe isn't more common. A mouthful of the melt-in-the-mouth meat with the sumptuous liver equals unparalleled culinary bliss. Worth flying here simply for this.
Timbale of rabbit with tarragon. The closest I can get to calling myself a cannibal for now, since I was born in the Year of the Rabbit. OK, never mind.
Burgundy snails with garlic & parsley butter. A cliched dish if prepared lackadaisically, but this was a reminder that in the right hands, with the right accompaniments, snails are some of the most marvelous molluscs around.
Fish cooked "pot au feu"-style with clams, leek & duck sausages. Perhaps the least memorable platter, but still a success by any measure. Comfort food for seafood fans.
Complimentary selection of cheese. Way too much for two people though...
... especially since we were offered no less than five varieties, including heavy ones doused in extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with truffle slices.
Complimentary Armagnac. A deliciously heady French brandy.
What's a French meal without red wine? This place is difficult to find, since it's in a secluded neighborhood away from the city center, but it's more than worth the effort.
Le Toit Gourmand,
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.