Where to eat in Nha Trang (part 3)? Le Refuge

27 Jul

So this post is about a famous French restaurant in Nha Trang. Famous because it is specialised in Savoy cuisine and the restaurant has been decorated like an Alps’ cottage.
I’m not a big fan of Savoy cuisine because they usually use strong cheese, and I don’t like cheese (I know, I’m French). I like only a few of them that don’t have much taste: mozzarella, ricotta, melted cheddar or gruyere. But the fact we’re always missing Western food led us to Le Refuge.


As you can see, the inside is really like an Alps’ cottage, all made in wood. The owners are a French guy from Savoy and his Vietnamese wife who speaks very well French. They both are really sweet. The French man is really stressed about his restaurant, and wants everything to be perfect (his wife forgot my orange juice and he was a bit angry about that for instance).
The dinner did not started well because a Russian family (a woman with her two adopted Vietnamese children) was a bit messing around. Well, it was mostly the woman, her children were eating what they had and seemed to be ok. She asked for a glass of wine, and apparently did not think it was good enough, so she started to say something to the owner (I think she wanted him to open a new bottle for her), and he told her that he had just opened a new one for this glass. She told him to shut up.
At first, I was not sure at all that she had told him that, but he confirmed later when he came to apologize for being a bit expeditive because he was angry against her. “I don’t like being told to shut up in my own restaurant” he told us, well, I can only agree with him. However, I didn’t see why he was apologizing; there’s no need to apologize for receiving bad clients, and he has never been anything but sweet to us.

Later on, the woman asked his wife if the bread was homemade or not. She told him that it was (they brought it hot). I’m nearly sure (French experience speaking you see) it wasn’t, unless they are good bakers. Anyway, the behaviour of this woman was so rude! I just wanted to tell her that if she wanted homemade bread and perfect wine, she had to go to the Sofitel. It’s not because It’s a French restaurant that it’s supposed to be the most posh restaurant in town!

So, I saw that they were making crepes which was not expensive so we both took a crepe and a salad, in case the crepe was too small.
I personally took the tomato-mozzarella salad.
I must say I was disappointed. As you can see on the picture, it does not look like mozzarella at all. When the owner brought us the plate, my friend and I exchanged this look meaning “what is that?”, and he told us “here is your tomato mozzarella salad” so we understood that there hasn’t been any mistake while ordering.
With my cheese’s fear, I was so afraid of the taste and the texture, will I be able to eat it?
It was a kind of mozzarella. I think it was the kind of mozzarella restaurants buy to put on pizza (thus when it cooks, it gives the taste but you cannot really see what was the cheese used). It had a bit of the taste of mozzarella but the texture of gruyere or something like that. The texture really disturbed me (not the kind I like usually), but I ate everything.
The rest of the plate was good, but not exceptionnal, I would have prefered to have only tomatoes. The salad cost 90 000 dongs (less than 4€).

My friend took the goat’s cheese salad. She had nearly the same salad but on top she had two toasts with warm goat’s cheese. This was a real goat’s cheese (the owner must be more familiar with goat’s cheese). I didn’t try it (guess why), so I’m trusting her for the commentary. She said it was good, although not the best goat’s cheese she has eaten (but this does not matter, we’re in Vietnam, of course it’s difficult to get good cheese, and furthermore she lives in the countryside in France, so she’s really used to eat the cheese directly from the farm). It cost 105 000 (a bit more than 4€).

Then I had my ham, cheese and egg crepe. My friend took the ham and cheese only. So the only difference was my egg on top of the crepe (usually it’s inside). The crepe dough was the one for a sweet crepe (the salty crepes are made with a buckwheat dough but once again, we should not forget we’re in Vietnam, I think buckwheat needs to be especially imported, contrarily to wheat flour that you can find in supermarkets).

The crepes were good. I’m not really picky with crepes. I saw once a ranking about the best crepes in Paris, I thought it was silly. Of course, there are some better crepes than others, but what you really want when eating a crepe, is a warm and fat thing, you’re not looking for gastronomy.
So my crepe fulfilled its mission. Mine cost 55 000 dongs and the one of my friend; 50 000 (about 2€).

Still a bit hungry, we both took a Nutella crepe. The menu was funny, because it was written “Nutella crepe (the true one!)”, basically claiming that he was using the real Nutella brand and not the fake Nutella from Big C (which belongs to the French company Casino). They did the same for the orange juice (this is how you guess that he’s been living a while in Vietnam and he’s just pissed off with the complexity of drinking juices or smoothies here> see my last post about that: Vietnamese drinks).
It was good also and there was some melted chocolate on top. It cost 40 000 dongs each (about 1,50€).

Here is the bill! There are three orange juices cause there was a misunderstanding with the Vietnamese owner. When I had finished my juice, she apparently asked me if I wanted one more, but I understood she was asking if she could take the empty glass away. So I had another one (but this was all my fault because my friend understood well what the woman was asking).

Mark: 3/5
The food was not always perfect, but the owners are nice people.
The only thing that disturbed me about them is that because there are the only people taking care of the restaurant and that the restaurant is small, they were always around us while eating. It was a bit oppressive, you could not speak freely, but it’s perfectly understandable. I would also take care myself of the restaurant if I was the owner! At the Italian restaurant “La bella Napoli da Gigi e Marinella” (see my post , the owners were both there, although not taking care of the food and the service by themselves, but because the restaurant was larger, you did not feel it was difficult to speak.

Le Refuge:
1L, Hung Vuong, Nha Trang

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