It was a happy day when I heard that the Lam family had gone back to their Vietnamese roots with the latest addition to their restaurant family Pho Saigon.
I was first introduced to that wonderful fusion food – the Vietnamese Sandwich (Banh) – when they opened Banh Mi Bale on Dominion Road. Then they moved their restaurant to Lorne St, renamed it Saigon BBQ (read our review) and changed the menu to a mainly Chinese food and barbecue meat format (delicious but no more sandwiches!).
Pho Saigon has just opened in the Viaduct area and serves solely Vietnamese food. We couldn’t wait to have their sandwiches again, so we picked some up for lunch. And they were as good as I had remembered. We ordered three varieties (all $7.50): Homemade Vietnamese Pork Balls; Grilled Chicken Marinated in Lemongrass and BBQ Pork. All sandwiches include a light spread of house mayonnaise, shredded carrots, cucumber, pate and coriander served on a warm toasted French mini-baguette. The bread is light and crunchy and is still made by one of the family.
All the flavours were delicious and I would happily eat any of them again. My favourite is still probably the chicken marinated in lemongrass, but the others came a close second.
We also ordered some fresh rolls ($6 for 2). These were the small size that I prefer, and came with vermicelli noodles, prawns and Vietnamese mint. A dipping sauce was included.
One of the things that I love about Vietnamese cuisine is the unexpected French influence such as baguette sandwiches or dishes like braised beef in crushed pepper and red wine. You will find these and more as you peruse the menu.
You can enjoy a wide range of appetisers from the fresh rolls $6 for 2) to a Vietnamese pancake ($18). Then there are chicken dishes ($22), pork dishes ($22), prawns ($22-$30), tofu and vegetable dishes ($16-$22), and meals on vermicelli, egg noodles or rice ($12-$19). Of course it wouldn’t be called Pho without having several steak and beef pho soups on the menu ($12-$13).
The liquor license was pending when we visited Pho Saigon, but they are expecting approval soon to serve wine, beer and BYO wine. Also note that it is cash and EFTPOS for purchases under $50 – credit card payments are only accepted for purchases over $50.
You may have to circle to find a parking spot, but persist! You will be rewarded with a warm welcome and delicious food. Then enjoy a stroll around the viaduct area after your meal.