Thursday, December 3, 2009

Saigon Saigon in Glebe - my lucky lucky door prize

A few weeks ago, at Jenius’s launch of ‘I Ate My Way Through Singapore and Vietnam’, I was fortunate to win a lucky door prize – a dining voucher at Saigon Saigon Vietnamese Restaurant in Glebe. So we made use of it on the weekend, and here is the story (in pictures, of course).

The first thing that struck me about Saigon Saigon is the décor – it is not your usual suburban Asian restaurant, you know, with laminate tables and plain walls. The setting here is all striking red walls and dark lacquered floors, punctuated with white coolie hat decorations and a tinkling water feature near the entrance. It means that the clientele are a bit more, um, ‘urbane’.

There are two main dining areas, both open to the street, which provides a nice through-breeze on warm nights. You could almost be in Saigon, if you imagine it hard enough...

The menu has usual Vietnamese dishes, such as the rice paper rolls, the salads and the deep-frieds. We tried each of these vital food groups.

The Saigon Saigon lemon soda ($4.50) is flagged as a chef’s speciality on the menu. The restaurant is BYO, and in the absence/forgetfulness of bringing any grog, the soda was a thirst-quenching burst of minty sweetness.

The mixed entree ($18 for 2 persons) always seems like a cop-out in Asian restaurants, but I like it because it gives you a taste of different items on the menu. I’d already tried the summer rolls and prawn wontons at the book launch, and here they were on the plate again. The serving was a slight disappointment – half a roll for each person is a bit miserly, but the chicken satay and grilled prawns made up for it by their rich flavours.

The waitress had asked whether we wanted everything to come at once or entrees first. We had asked for entrees first, so were surprised when the roast duck salad ($17.50) turned up. I then realised that it is probably not classified as a ‘main’. Nonetheless, it was a substantial and colourful serving of fresh and pickled vegetables and thick slices of duck breast, anointed with a delicious dressing. It looks great, doesn’t it?

As the empty entree plates were whisked away, our main of deep-fried soft shell crab ($23) arrived. Again, this was a generous serving of lightly battered crab – and it was freshly fried because it was nice and hot when you bit into it. I loved this dish, even the copious amounts of garlic.

When I read a menu, I always look at the desserts first – can’t stand it when the desserts are on a separate menu. Fortunately, Saigon Saigon’s desserts ($8.50 each) are on the main menu. So I knew I wanted the deep-fried fritters to finish. But would I go for the banana or pineapple? Banana wins!
We also had a fried ice cream – not my favourite, but this one had a good (thin) crumb coating and the ice cream was rich and not too hard.

Both desserts came with a little pot of ‘sago sauce’ which I thought deserved a place of its own – it was lovely, with lots of sago in a coconut sauce.

The desserts come dusted with cocoa!  The bill comes in a carved wooden box.

Glebe Point Road, where restaurant sits, is packed with places that come alive after dark and Saigon Saigon shines like a rich red jewel from the shadows.... Er, sorry, don’t know what came over me just now... Just trying to say that we had a great meal there. The food comes at a snappy pace, and the service and setting are really pleasant. I think I’ll be back, even without a lucky door prize in my hand.

Saigon Saigon is at 95-97 Glebe Point Road, Glebe, NSW.  Ph: 02 9660 3888
 Saigon Saigon on Urbanspoon


  1. The duck salad looks so good. Dessert looks nice too. I have never had Sago Sauce before.

  2. hehe, I don't blame you for getting a little poetic towards the end there, it looks like a beautiful fresh, tasty meal and I love the decor! Would love to try that sago sauce too, maybe with a spoon ;)

  3. 'Sago Sauce' sounds rather appealing, and I would've felt tempted to take the bill-box home!

  4. Lucky you to win the door gift :) Interesting "sago sauce".

  5. My mum used to take me to a Vietnamese restaurant after school to get fried ice cream (whilst we waited around for my bro to finish sport) - I used to love love love it! There's so many good places on Glebe Point Rd, it's hard to decide where to go!

  6. Hey Bel! Sounds like you had a lovely meal here. Congrats again on winning the door prize...hehe... I love the banana fritters and soft shell crab too! You must try the beef luc lac and sugar cane prawns next time!

  7. I don't think I've ever seen a drink on a chef's specials menu before. Interesting that they chose to do so.

    The mixed entree for two looks more like a mixed entree for one. Well, at least from my perspective.

  8. Colourful decorations and colourful salad. The banana fritters and coconut sauce sound best though.

  9. You lucky lucky lady! You're right - judging by the pictures, the restaurant sounds fabulous and I would go there too with out the lucky door prize!

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  12. Oh my goodness I'm having sensation overload right now! Look at all that colours and flavours!

  13. Belleeee congrats on the prize!! I've walked past this place a billion times and i'm always thinking "MAN i wanna try this place" cos the hats on the wall and the fancy walls makes me wanna eat here.

    Glad you done a review on this place cos the food looks really good and you've answered all my questions.

    BANANA FRITTERS!!! Have not had that since I was a childddd.. my mum used to make that but stopped =(

  14. hi a cupcake or two - the sago sauce was more like another dessert. Delicious!

    hi Conor - I'm not a poet and I know it! The food was certainly fresh and I want to go back.

    hi mlle delicieuse - that box was lovely. We got a similar bill box from Maha in Melbourne - very nice carved wood.

    hi Ellie - I was so thrilled to win the prize - and it was food! Score!

    hi Betty the Hungry Girl - fried ice cream's such a old-fashioned dish, I wish they served it more often.

    hi Jen - thanks so much for the prize. And I'll definitely try the sugar cane prawns next time. There are so many good dishes on their menu.

    hi Simon - the drink was realllly good - super sweet, but in a good way. Apparently it's popular in Vietnam. I can see why.

    hi Arwen - I normally find salads a bit blah, but this one was so fresh and a good-sized serving. Not so big though that you couldn't have banana fritters after...

    hi Trissa - yes, lucky me! I will probably see you there sometime!

    hi Trisha - isn't it colourful! Red's supposed to make you antsy, but I really liked the effect in the restaurant.

    hi Leona - shame your mum stopped making banana fritters, they are so good! And you should go to Saigon Saigon - your pictures of the food would be amazing, I bet!