This food is made for sharing!
When you think of Vietnamese food, the obvious Pho and Beef Noodle Bowls spring to mind, but as a Saigonese grillhouse, Le Garçon Saigon is different; for one thing, there are no soups to be seen on the menu! The food that Chef Bao La has created celebrates the vibrant, fresh and sophisticated flavours of southern Vietnam – with the menu as a whole acting as his very own “Ode to Saigon” (plus a couple of international influences thrown in!).
With a menu packed full delicious grilled meat, unexpectedly tasty veggie dishes and decadent desserts; make sure to bring a crowd and come hungry, as you’ll want to try as much here as possible!
The restaurant is lively and welcoming. Reminiscent of a chic Parisian brasserie, I was drawn towards the eye-catching French mural, which dominates the room. Along with teal walls, wicker chairs, marble topped tables and the geometric tiled floor – this is one trendy place (perfect for some insta snappin’) – they even have a small pineapple garden outside!
We tried a couple of the drinks from the “Les Cocktails” menu, but our top pick was the Passionnement ($118) – a mix of vodka, lillet, mango, passion fruit – a fruity and refreshing drink, with a slight hint of sourness, the perfect accompaniment to the vibrant flavours of the food.
All of the dishes at Le Garçon Saigon are designed to be shared family style; with most dishes accompanied by a plate full of fresh leaves and herbs, rice paper, pickles and dipping sauces, meaning you can wrap ‘em up however you like!
To kick off our meal, we enjoyed a selection of salads, along with the all-important and totally irresistible Mini Banh Mi ($48). I challenge anyone to not enjoy a good Banh Mi and the ones here are to die for! Made with a mini baguette which is crisp and flakey on the outside, but soft and doughy in the middle and packed full of in house-made cold cuts, veggies and mayo. Along with these, we tasted the Green Papaya Salad ($78), with beef jerky, shrimp crisps, cashew nuts and a spicy tamarind vinaigrette. It was a lovely combination of fresh flavours and textures, tied together with the spicy dressing. We also sampled the Shredded Cabbage Salad ($78), with rau ram, nashi pear, white soy garlic vinaigrette and crispy yuba sheets. Again the mix of flavours and textures worked beautifully, making a super light and fresh salad – perfect for the veggies out there.
Meat lovers, make sure to try the Grilled Wagyu Bavette Steak ($348), as well as the succulent Lemongrass Chicken Skewers ($128). The steak was served a juicy medium rare and as a result of the slow cooking was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. For an amazing veggie alternative, go for the incredible Hedgehog Mushrooms ($88) – packed with flavour and with such a meaty texture, I would have 100% been fooled into thinking it was pork if I didn’t know otherwise!
Everything we tried had a delicious charred and slightly smokey flavour from the grill, which worked so nicely once wrapped up in your lettuce or rice paper rolls. Along with the selection of dipping sauces at hand, get ready for punchy yet delicate flavours which celebrate the harmony of textures, temperatures and tastes which is Saigonese cuisine.
Then came the best part of every meal, the desserts! As Le Garçon Saigon have just 3 on the menu, we didn’t need any excuses to order them all. First up was the seasonal Rhubarb, Strawberries and Macadamia Nut Crumble ($78), served with custard ice cream. The fruit was lovely and tart, working well with the crunch of the crumble and the heavenly ice cream. We then tried the Rainbow Che ($78) – consisting of mango granita, grass jelly, watermelon and coconut ice-cream, I can imagine it making for the perfect summer cooler on a hot day! Lastly (and my no means least) was my favourite, the decadent Condensed Milk Flan with Drip Coffee Caramel ($78). An amazing twist on the classic Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk, and served in a cute coffee cup, the smooth flan was rich and creamy and topped with the coffee caramel it made for a devilishly good dessert.
We loved all of the food that we tried at Le Garçon Saigon and it’s a great place to go if you want to sample this unexplored genre of Vietnamese cuisine. Everything on the menu is for sharing and you will most definitely be up in everyone’s space reaching for the goods to fill up your lettuce wraps, so it’s is the perfect option for a fun date night or the place to go with a big group of friends – sharing’s caring after all!
Le Garçon Saigon, G/F, 12-18, Wing Fung Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, www.legarconsaigon.com