05 June 2009

Little Saigon

Booto and the Sponge, having known the Deliberator for far too long, made a booking at Little Saigon for 8.00, but wisely told the Deliberator the reservation was for 7.30. As 7.30 approached, Booto and the Sponge casually went about their business, attending to Stinks and discussing their pre-dinner snifter (‘was this the $5 white from the Re Store?’, ‘oh, no no no, this one was $7.80 from Dan Murphy’s… so don’t quaff it, enjoy the fine flavours and sip slowly woman’). However, for possibly the first time in the Deliberator’s 1.5 year history of Beaufort Street Blogging, the Deliberator was home, dressed, shoed, washed, texting the others furiously and ready for action by 7.20. This left Booto, the Sponge and the Brains in a never-before-experienced situation. They were going to be early.

On arrival at Little Saigon, the Bloggers were happy to discover their pre-booked table ready to go, complete with a high chair for Stinks. Booto, the Brains and Stinks happily sorted themselves out while the Deliberator and the Sponge went across the road to the Merchant for more of their favourite cheap piss. During their absence, our fabulous waitress made all the appropriate looks, sounds and movements in front of Stinky to keep Stinks well pleased with himself for the next 2.5 hours.

Entrees arrived and they were tremendous. We ordered 2 serves of prawn and potato cakes, 1 serve of stuffed chicken wings and 2 serves of rice-paper rolls with hot (hot!) beef. The prawn and potato cakes are outstanding – shredded sweet potato wrapped around a huge, plump prawn and deep fried till crisp. There’s so much surface area on these things that there must be about 4 tablespoons of oil in each one, which makes ordering them very worthwhile. The stuffed chicken wings were not the monsters we’re used to, but were far more flavoursome than their Viet Hoa or Phi Yen counterparts. And fresh rice paper rolls with steaming hot crispy beef? Heaven. We really wanted to try the stuffed squid but couldn’t justify more food – could someone please try it and let us know how it is?

While we smashed our entrées and bottles of cheap wine numbers 1 and 2, we watched other people’s mains pass us by, until one looked so fantastic we stopped the waitress on her way out the kitchen and asked what it was. It was the old Vietnamese favourite, lemongrass and chilli chicken, but it was done better than anywhere else we could recall. For mains we also chowed down on a plate of lightly deep friend salt and pepper squid (fast becoming a benchmark we use to compare all Beaufort Street eateries) which was perfect, pork with anchovy sauce (amazing ribs cooked in that pan-Asian method - being grill the shit out the food, add salt, serve), goat curry (which was delicious, but a bit sinewey and tripey, and loaded with cloves, and although we consider ourselves adventurous, apart from the Deliberator we are all a bit more Caucasian than we’d like to think when it comes to food preferences), and finally, on a crazy and embarrassing whim, mixed vegetables. All in all outstanding Vietnamese cuisine.

And now to the service. What a delight. The fellow who took our order was charming, courteous and ever-so-friendly. And our waitress, who turned out to be the chef’s sister, quickly fell in love with Stinky (and who wouldn’t?). Stinky got cuddles, kisses, 2 trips to the kitchen to meet the chef, a couple of photos with the waitress and even a free Vietnamese desert.

Our meals came out in good time, we were quickly supplied with the 5 or 6 ice buckets we needed, the Sponge smashed a glass which was swiftly swept up and replaced with a minimum of fuss (he also managed to smash another one later that evening on the Balcony of Broken Dreams. This time, with the Deliberator as the host, there was a maximum amount of fuss and a refusal to replace, leaving poor old Sponge drinking straight from the bottle for the rest of the evening) and smiles all round from the wait staff.

In summary:

Service: A joy. Particularly thanks to the due appreciation the staff showed for Stinky’s fine looks and impeccable behaviour.

Food: Really really good, flavoursome, fresh Vietnamese food.

Ambience: A cosy restaurant lit with pretty Vietnamese silk lanterns. The Aerosmith CD was an dd choice though.

Highlight: Definitely the crispy potato cakes with prawns.

Lowlight: Nothing really. While the goat curry didn’t float our boat (except the Deliberator's), it was an ordering problem, not a cooking problem.

Rating: 4.4 goi cuon out of 5.

Will we be back: Absolutely. It’s a perfect place to take parents too – good food, not too noisy and it’s not grimy and plasticy like the Vietnamese restaurants in Northbridge (and no disrespect to those places, we love them, but we know the older generation sometimes struggle with them).

Details: Little Saigon is located at 489 Beaufort St, and can be contacted by phone on 9227 5586. Reservations are strongly recommended. 3 good sized entrees and 4 mains plus vegetables and rice came to a low low $35 a head.



Little Saigon on Urbanspoon

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

fark, $35 per head for vietnamese? what a rip off.

Vaughan said...

the stuffed squid is also AWESOME.

The Cooking Professor said...

Agree absolutely and thoroughly. After a very tiring effort at the Cooking School (great class but very a full and a very vocal, albeit friendly, mob whose attention spans for the culinary arts were considerably overpowered by their attention on vins blancs et rouges)the lovely Jan and I headed to the Merchant for a late night bite, only to be thwarted by the closure of the kitchen. (It was after 10:15, after all.)
So we proceeded to cross the road with a few Merchant take-aways from the beer and wine departments under arm.
And to the Saigon we went. Wow!!! This is seriously good tucker, seriously good serice and a seriously good restauarant at a very, very reasonable tariff, given the package.
The anonymous soul above who quibbled at $35 a head has no farking idea!!!

Cookster said...

Good lord, I'm so hungry after reading that I could eat the crutch out of a low flying seagull...

David Cohen said...

Was Stinky's Vietnamese desert a Long Tan Sandy Waste?

Does the Deliberator need a kick up the bottom?

Fabulous revie - is Soto next?

andrew said...

nice review and agree with all points except the goat curry which i have found on two occasions to be quite pleasant. mine had masses of eggplant in it thou...
making a booking here is always a good option and everytime i go i am amazed that a seemingly simplistic eatery can outshine more sophisticated restaurants nearby

Beaufort Street Bloggers said...

Anonymous - very constructive comment. Thanks.

Vaughan - thank god someone has tried the stuffed squid. We will certainly order them on the next trip.

The Cooking Professor - thanks for your feedback and your story. It's so good that you can get a decent late night feed so close to home. We love the accommodating staff - we've found so many restaurants in the area putting rules on everything they can or cannot do, it's refreshing to go to a restaurant and feel that people are there to actually help.

Cookster - crutch from low flying seagull was number 47 on the menu. We didn't get that far.

David Cohen - Stinky's dessert was comprised of 6 separate gelatinous and unrecognisable flavours. And sorry about the spelling. The Deliberator wouldn't even feel a kick up the arse. And Soto will come, sheesh, what's your beef with / love for that place? Please disclose your interest.

andrew - there was no eggplant in our curry. And it really was nice, just not quite what we had expected. Absolutely agree with your comment. It is quite interesting how a place can charge $35 a head can consistently get things right, when places charging $20 or more fuck it up so badly. Yes Caffe Martino, that means you.

David Cohen said...

Look: to this boy from Booragoon, Soto seemed to be the ultimate in modern sophistication. Although I can reveal someone we know went right off it. She ordered the tempe burger, it took ages to arrive - and when it did the bun had been toasted twice, rendering it inedible.

Looking forward to your assessment - but bruish up on your spelling, hmmmm?

Stu said...

bruish DC? lol

Anonymous strikes me as one who still considers beef and black bean as the height of Asian cuisine.

Great review, great because I agree, the food is always good so long as you order correctly. You can occasionally err and cop something you just can't quite take, the goat curry for example. I did it with the soft shell crab...their version not so good.

never a bad choice since though.

mansi said...

Seriously one of the best food blog in Perth!! :) - agree with your verdict on Saigon's goat curry. Wasnt spectacular. They were very good with my Chubby Cheeks too. Probably have trained their staff with baby entertaining 101 -Please try Gogo's Curry House (famous for their marinated lamb chops!) and Two Fat Indians. Would be interesting to know how you rate these two indian joints. -Used to come down Beaufort St everyday. Miss it dearly now that ive moved. -Stinky is getting his food education early!! Thats awesome.

Meghan said...

I live down Broome St and I probably never would have tried this place - but I am absolutely going to now - possibly even tonight. My friends and I once joked about working our way down the restaurants on Beaufort - I'm so pleased to see you guys doing it and reviewing it far better than we ever would! Awesome blog!

Trev said...

Great review. I'm hanging out for the next one though.

Anonymous said...

Hi Guys.
Have you finished this blog? I check in with anticipation each week and feel like 17 yr old whose been stood up for her prom date.

Perhaps your social life has been conquered by a 1yr old??? (I can relate)

downunderdale said...

love your blog just found - as a Beaufort St eater as well - very pertinent comments throughout.

Anonymous said...

This has nothing to do with little saigon.. but what happened to inglewood pizza? I am really craving one of their pizzas.

The Beer Judges said...

Hey guys,

What's happened? I loved reading your reviews.

Can we look forward to your eating adventures at the Queens, given the rubbish review they got in the West on Saturday?

isilya said...

Fabulous blog! I look forward to trying out Saigon based on your recommendation. Your writing style is very entertaining as well!

MaylandsReader said...

Did you guys have a fight?? I'm getting sadder and sadder everytime I have a look and there is nothing new.. :-(

Anonymous said...

Anyone? Hello?
Getting hungry here!! lol
Miss you guys!!

Anonymous said...

pleeeeeese come back - beaufort st isnt the same without you!

Anonymous said...

or at least let us know that you've stopped so we can stop checking the site :(

Anonymous said...

Where are you guys??

Anonymous said...

I think you guys are damn rude for just leaving this blog and your readers in the lurch!
Very bad form boy's! Like a bad restaurant, except they don't pack up and bugger off overnight without even so much as a CLOSED sign on the door!!!!!!!

橘子 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
northern musings said...

Oh dear and now spam from China.....
So miss reading your blog, I could pretend that on my next visit to Aus I would use your blog as my guide to where to eat out with friends... Seeing as though it is highly unlikely that I will be back in Perth I guess it doesn´t matter that you are no longer blogging, but hey it was really good while it lasted.

said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

2010 is here. Get back to work.

Anonymous said...

We all understand the stories about USMilitary in Vietnam who killed entire villages including women and children, toddlers and infants.
Unashamed vet in the public sector, SUPPORTED BY YOUR TAX DOLLARS, earning six figures/year. This history should have affected the family business as well.