I’ve had Saigon Sally on my list of places to try for a while now, but never seem to get around to it. On a Tuesday night, it was finally the night to check out what all the hype has been about. We made a booking for their early seating at 6:15pm and arrived to only a hand full of tables.
ATMOSPHERE & SERVICE
Known as the more sophisticated older sister to Hanoi Hanna and Tokyo Tina, we arrived to a chic yet funky restaurant with an oversized feature bar. There is seating all around the bar area to watch the masters whip up some of their famous cocktails while enjoying some trendy, modern food. We were seated along the wall with a perfect view of all the action taking place behind the bar.
Decor is modern with their own contemporary Asian twists, including a massive mural on the wall that instantly catches your attention as you enter. The mural is of an Asian woman smoking a cigarette, with the smoke swirling up the wall onto the ceiling.
Funky vibrant lights are featured throughout the space, either hanging from the walls, or uniquely tucked away for a bit of artsy flare. Everywhere you look, there is something different to take in, whether it’s the plants hanging from the ceiling, the large wine cellar on display, or the wire crates showcasing exposed light bulbs.
The service throughout the night was quick, attentive and very friendly. We were given amazing recommendations on what to order and drinks were always topped up without having to ask.
A menu is create by Chef Adrian Li, offering contemporary Vietnamese cuisine, with hints of tradition throughout. The menu is quirky to match the style of the restaurant and decor. Based around a shared style menu, we opted to go with several different dishes to get a good taste of everything.
We started with the ‘Fried Chicken Ribs’ served with sesame, garlic and sriracha mayo. The chicken was very juicy and tender, however very fatty. The chicken itself wasn’t the most tasty, however once dipped in the fiery mayo, it definitely kicked up the flavour.
Arriving at the same time was the ‘Wagyu Tartare’, served with young coconut, viet mint, perilla and puffed rice paper. This was by far my favourite dish of the night, and one of the best tartare’s I’ve had in Melbourne. The flavoured puffed rice paper brought out the amazing flavours from the tartare and is definitely a must to order!
The ‘Vietnamese Chicken Coleslaw’ was recommended by our waiter, however was nothing too exciting. Served with black bean poached chicken, crisp vermicelli, peanuts and bean shoots, there really wasn’t much flavour. Presentation was beautiful, however it looked much better than it tasted.
Our two larger dishes for main included the ‘Sticky Lamb Ribs’ and the ‘Half Duck’. The lamb ribs were amazing, juicy and full of flavour. Slow cooked and served in a mandarin, oyster sauce, fennel and star anise sauce, these were outstanding.
The duck was quite tasty, however I’ve had better. It was unfortunately overcooked and quite tough, however the flavour of the duck was all there.
Overall we do have a wonderful time at Saigon Sally, but it isn’t on my top fav list. There are so many good Asian restaurants in Melbourne all competing for the top spot. Pricing is quite pricey for what you actually get. I’m glad we’ve checked it off the list, but probably won’t be back anytime soon.