Bonjour, Come in!

Hearty French fare in an alfresco setting in District 2…

Tucked away on a side street off Thao Dien in District 2 lies a French restaurant named Le Bacoulos (13 Tong Huu Dinh, D2). Don’t bother to run it through Google translate, for the word itself has no meaning, invented by the owner. To get the story behind the genesis of this year-old eatery’s moniker it’s best to chat with the owner, Frenchman David Genouin-Duhamel. While you’re at it, don’t be shy to ask for recommendations, as he is responsible for crafting the entire menu himself.

Originally from Normandy, David fell in love with gastronomy and the culinary arts, as the French are wont do to, while living in Paris. However, he took the plunge into owning his own French restaurants when he found himself living in Phuket, Thailand, for over a decade. Phuket’s loss is Saigon’s gain.


Le Bacoulos may serve French food, but the atmosphere feels more like antebellum Vietnam. You won’t find white linens, expensive crystal, or decadent décor here. Instead you’ll dine alfresco on simple wooden tables with wicker chairs, surrounded by lush tropical plants and ambient music that’s a pleasant accompaniment during your meal. If you relish the idea of a bistro in the tropical outdoors, you’ll feel right at home at Le Bacoulos.

The menu has more than a few options spread over a variety of categories. The starters were no exception with myriad selections to satisfy most palates. We opened with baked scallops in garlic butter (VND110,000), a straightforward dish, but a great measuring stick. Small and tender, they were exactly as they should be, and served with fresh bread to make sure none of the garlic elixir was wasted.


The Food
Our other starter, the salade gourmet in a nut vinaigrette, was comprised of duck confit, duck gizzard, and bacon mixed with baby greens and topped off with a poached egg (VND180,000), and proved to be a real showstopper. The duck confit was crispy and salty on the outside while the meat remained tender and moist, falling off the bone effortlessly. The gizzards, whose texture was more akin to sausage than organ meat, were delectable little gems, and bacon makes everything better. This starter could very well be a finisher for those who don’t have a huge appetite, or simply forgot to bring it.

Our desire for meat dictated the mains. We settled on an order of New Zealand lamb chops in herbs and served with ratatouille (VND250,000 for two chops, VND320,000 for three) and the flank steak topped with shallots and served with a baby green salad and mashed potatoes (VND260,000). Several other sides are available should you prefer them.


The lamb chops were ordered rare and didn’t disappoint. Served alongside a generous portion of ratatouille, sliced cherry tomatoes were sprinkled generously on top. The herb flavoring was distinct, but not overpowering, and proved delicious even for those who prefer their meats naked. The meat itself was tender and the gamey flavor that is often present in lamb was mild to non-existent. The chops were of sufficient size that two should be enough for most people, but the hearty eater, or people who enjoy sharing, can feel good opting for a third.

The star of our meal, however, was the flank steak. Also from New Zealand, David recommended it with such confidence that we didn’t bother asking about the other dishes on the menu that caught our attention. We ordered it very rare, emphasis on ‘very.’ Most kitchens seem apprehensive about serving red meat purple and tepid in the middle. If that’s how you prefer your steak, Le Bacoulos’ chef will not let you down. The flank steak was succulent and wonderfully textured. The generous portion of fried shallots heaped an extra, savory level atop it. After the first bite you’ll be ready to order another glass of the house red (VND50,000). Our choice of sides, mashed potatoes, also ordered on the recommendation of our host, were buttery, creamy, and the ideal complement.


You’ll need to catch your breath after a meal like that before braving the dessert menu. The chocolate mousse (VND90,000) was set squarely in our sights, but our host wouldn’t hear of us not sampling the lemongrass sorbet in strawberry sauce (VND90,000) as well. The mousse was rich and possessed of a delicate, airy texture that is its signature trait. The sorbet was refreshing, tart, and, once again, spot on as a recommendation. They were an absolute joy to eat, and we lamented finishing them.

For those who enjoy a more festive atmosphere, every other Saturday night they have live music that alternates between jazz manouche (aka gypsy jazz) and reggae.


Images by Ngoc Tran

Share this story, choose your platform!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on tumblr
Share on google
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on vk
Share on email
About the author:

Leave a Comment

Does Coffee Cause Inflammation? Myths and Misconceptions

This delicious morning brew is a must part of our daily routine. The beverage is hard to say no to because of its luscious taste and aroma.  Plus, it gives you the energy boost you need to start your day! While drinking a cup of rich, creamy coffee may give you a shot of stamina,

Read More »

Authentic Italian wines

ALL COOL MADE EASY Thiên nhiên đã dạy cho chúng tôi Thời gian là kim chỉ nam của chúng tôi: chậm và không ngừng trôi, thời gian đã dạy cho chúng tôi phải hành động đúng lúc, quan sát sự thay đổi của mùa màng, của những ngày nắng và mưa. Thiên nhiên đã ban

Read More »

What Makes A Wine Expensive | Factors And Characteristics

You have undoubtedly spent a lot of time looking around your local wine shop in pursuit of that $5 bottle that tastes like a $20 bottle or the $15 wine that could easily pass for a $100 bottle. What are the fundamental reasons wine is so expensive? And are these elements genuine or made up?

Read More »

Top 10 Indian Foods That Are Must Try

India is a country that can impress you at every step of the way. Whether it is the culture, scenic view, geography, history, and even foot – every thing of the nation will mesmerize you and overwhelm you. If you are a foodie and love to explore different cuisines of India, then the country welcomes

Read More »

7 Different things You Can Pair with Your Coffee

Coffee is a must-have drink for most people. But having it plain with no side snack or dish can affect your stomach lining. Fortunately, you can pair coffee with all kinds of food, from spicy dishes to pastries. Also, you can use different healthy oils, such as MCT oil, and gain all the benefits of MCT

Read More »

Eat Your Way Through Hong Kong in a Day

Taste Hong Kong: One-day journey through culinary diversity Want to eat like a Hong Konger? Hong Kong is one of the world’s great food cities and its cuisine is world-renowned for being incredibly rich, influenced by Cantonese, European, Japanese, Korean, and Southeast Asian flavors. There’s literally something for everyone, at any time of day. Morning

Read More »