Nestled within the bustling shops of Kingsland you’ll find the new opening of a fusion Vietnamese eatery. Fusion? Boring, yawn… Everyone one does that. Well, in this instance don’t let the word ‘fusion’ fool you into thinking you might be served an Asian inspired mac ‘n cheese (and we also hope you never eat an Asian inspired mac ‘n cheese). That would be weird. Fusion here, simply means the marriage of the multiple regions of the country's vibrant cuisine.
At Saigon, get acquainted with traditional street food favourites—Bun Cha, a charcoal BBQ pork dish is a staple in Hanoi. The crispy edged, tender pork is served alongside rice noodles, pickled vegetables, nuoc cham (a balanced dipping sauce of sweet, spicy, salty and sour) garlic, chilli, and crisp salad. Or, slurp those noodles up with their Pho Bo, a popular rice noodle soup served with perfectly cooked rare eye fillet and slow-cooked beef with coriander and a gentle hum thanks to the addition of spring onion.
Influenced from the far north, their tua tua dish is a must try. It is simple and done well, flavoured with ginger, garlic, chili and kaffir lime. The tamarind duck is sticky and sweet, the dark meat served with the bone to ensure its tenderness, it’s flavour intensifies thanks to the accompanying pickled vegetables. For something a tad more warming we would suggest their rich goat curry. Yes goats are cute, but unfortunately for them they’re not as cute as they are tasty. The meat melts upon first bites and is served with a baguette (as they do in Vietnam thanks to the French settlers) to soak it all up.
Their desserts maybe not be authentic, but they’re darn tasty—classics injected with Southeast Asian flavours. The panna cotta is silky and smooth, and has bold lycee tones throughout. And the banana caramel sundae has hints of brandy and texture thanks to the French shortbread used to garnish.
The dining room itself is sleek, with large wooden tables down the centre and brown leather banquette seating lining the whole of one wall. We can imagine booking the two centre tables for the crew before wandering over to watch the AB’s at neighbouring Eden Park.
All in all, this new opening is the perfect neighbourhood local, providing friendly service, a notable cocktail menu and tasty authentic fare. And all at a price your wallet will thank you for. You’re welcome.
Image credit: Lauren Matilda Matthews