Cheap Eats - Saigon BBQ Auckland Central

Saigon BBQ

I first met the lovely Lam family when they opened Banh Mi Bale restaurant on Dominion Road.  They introduced me to their delicious Vietnamese sandwiches (true fusion food) and other Vietnamese cooking.  Then we lost them to the Auckland CBD, where they relocated to Lorne Street.

A return visit was long overdue, but the day I visited Banh Mi Bale was closed and transforming itself into Saigon BBQ restaurant. Now open it its new format, our family of three paid a visit for dinner.

While not all dishes fall into the Cheapeats category, the overwhelming majority do and it would be a disservice to our readers to exclude this establishment because of it.

The restaurant was busy with Asian students, who were making the most of the BBQ Dish on Rice ($11-$14) such as BBQ pork on steamed rice, Vietnamese Rice Dishes ($12-$14) such as beef cubes fried in butter and rice with a touch of honey served on tomato rice, Pasta and Fried Rice ($12-$14) such as shredded duck fried rice, Stir-Fried Rice ($11-$13) such as eggplant/salty fish and pork mince on rice; Vermicelli ($12-$14) such as spring rolls and grilled chicken in lemongrass served with vermicelli; Pho Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup ($12-$13); Noodle Soups $12-$13; Laksa ($12-$13); Stir-Fried Noodles ($11-$14) and Congee ($9).

Desserts ($7-$8) are mainly ice cream with favourite Asian accompaniments such as grass jelly, red bean, lychee or logan.

When we arrived, Kathryn Lam greeted us with a warm smile and helped us through the menu.  We were hungry and she suggested we share the 3 Choice combination BBQ Roast- (Roast Duck, BBQ Pork and Crispy Pork) Even though this dish is way over cheap eats budget at $34, it’s a sharing platter so we thought we’d taste it to get a broad sampling of their meat. We accompanied this with Braised Season Veges with Tofu ($18).  I remembered their delicious Green Beans With Salty Olives & Mince ($22), so we had that, too.  We also had to order their Prawn Fresh Rolls ($6 for 2) and a Mango Shake ($6) made with fresh mangoes.

The highest praise I can give is that after our meal, there was not a scrap left on any of the plates.  The meats were all deliciously tender.  The duck had a beautiful burnished skin and the crispy pork was truly crispy.  Saigon BBQ only uses a special cut of pork for this dish that does not have such a thick layer of fat.

The vegetable dish was the perfect simple foil to the meat while the green bean dish was the flavour hit that I remembered.  Perfectly cooked green beans with the salty olives and meat making it a meal-in-one. The fresh rolls generously had three pieces of prawn and were not too thick.  The mango shake was very refreshing and the taste of the fresh mango came through.  The meal was accompanied by complimentary tea.

Saigon BBQ suits the single diner with its dishes on rice as well as groups with its huge menu.  This is definitely a great place to bring some friends along to try a variety of dishes to share.  You can accompany your meal with complimentary or special order tea, fruit shakes, beer or bring your own wine.

Watch for the Lam family’s next venture – a more formal classical Vietnamese restaurant called “Pho Saigon” opening up in the Viaduct area.

Location: 8 Lorne Street, Auckland City
Phone: (09) 377-3288
Hours: 10am-10pm. Seven days
Licensed: Yes for beer and BYO wine
Takeaways: Yes
Credit Cards: Yes, but surcharge applies over $50
Suitable for Vegetarians: Yes
Prices: Speciality Appetisers ($6-$20); BBQ Dishes on Rice ($11-$14); Vietnamese Rice Dishes ($12-$14); Pasta and Fried Rice ($12-$14); Stir-Fried Rice ($11-$13); Vermicelli ($12-$14); Soups ($11-$14); Congee ($9); Desserts ($7-$8)
Bathrooms: Good
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4 Responses

  1. Hope says:

    Yum that combination Roast Duck, BBQ Pork & Crispy Skin Pork (I love) sounds so delicious I will have to visit. Love Vietnam & the Vietnamese people!

  2. Jaime says:

    My friends and I went to Saigon BBQ for dinner on Friday, 3 June 2011. We ordered four dishes: half a roast duck, BBQ squid, salt and pepper fish, and tofu with salted fish and chicken. We also had five bowls of rice to accompany the dishes. For dessert, we ordered grass jelly with ice cream, longan with ice cream and jackfruit with ice cream. The bill came up to $121.50.

    We would not go back because we felt the food was not flavourful, the cost of the bill was high, there was confusion over the cost of splitting the bill and issues with staff service regarding cutlery and clearing the table.

    • Lynn says:

      Thank you very much for taking the time to give us feedback on your experience of Saigon BBQ Restaurant. We obviously had a much more positive experience than you and your group. Our food was excellent, and the menu is large and there are dishes priced for virtually every taste and every budget. It does sound that the service and miscommunication regarding the bill let the restaurant down, and I am sure that the Lam family would want to know about that.

      We agree that there are many excellent value-for-money places to eat in Auckland. We welcome any suggestions of places to review for Cheapeats.

  1. October 31, 2011

    […] 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 […]

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