I started eating Asian food only three years ago. Before visiting Saigon I classified all food as Asian unless it explicitly said Chinese (which only the takeaway spots do really). Saigon is a Vietnamese restaurant that offers a more westernized menu with a wide variety of dishes to suit any palate.
The restaurant is fairly quiet at lunch time but busier at dinner. You most definitely can get away with not making a booking. The decor is not the greatest and reminds me of a dingy seaside restaurant.
The covered section is better suited for lunch time dining. My strawberry daiquiri was dismally watered down, barely tasted of strawberry and contained very little alcohol.
For starters we had the chicken spring rolls. At R43 it’s quite expensive for three spring rolls that are a little bigger than bite size, but on par with starter prices at most restaurants. It is served with noodles and green salad which serves more as a garnish than complement. The spring rolls were crispy and the flavour was subtle. More importantly there was enough chicken, there wasn’t an overload of cheap cabbage that some places serve.
I had the chicken basil chilli for mains for R94. The flavours in this dish are over the top with the soy sauce and garlic dominating. I would have liked to have been able to taste the basil. The chicken was done well with good flavours and a generous portion which I could not finish!
The prawn litchi green curry with coconut milk, vegetables, basil and green chilli for R125 is so damn delicious. Great flavour, plenty of prawns and the contrast of hot and sweet flavours make it a winner. I would have never have thought that prawn and litchi would be such an amazing flavour combination, thank goodness someone else did!
Ambience and decor is much better at dinner time. The red lights, bamboo, fish tank and water features make for an interesting set up.
The box of calamari with spicy cilantro dipping sauce for R57 wasn’t up my alley. I didn’t like the seasoning and the calamari was super oily.
Lightly battered peppered prawns with red pepper, chilli and spring onion for R135 is an interesting dish. The prawns are great quality with a strong pepper taste. This is a strange dish to eat solo as a main as it is dry and needs either vegetables or a sauce to break it up.
Overall I enjoyed the flavours and the food. Meals do become quite expensive because you have to order rice/noodles separately. I have found that one side order is enough for two people to share. Having returned to the restaurant twice, it is a place I can recommend for those that love good food packed with flavour. If you accept it as just a place that serves up delicious food – nothing more, nothing less, you will definitely enjoy your visit.
Ring: (011) 807 5272
Hop: Rivonia Junction, Corner Rivonia Road & 7th Avenue, Sandton
Saigon & Vietnam,