We might be in lockdown now, but that won’t last forever. When we’re out again – hopefully in a few days! – I’ve got just the place for you: Straight Outta Saigon. It’s as close as we can get, for the time being, to Vietnam. Think Eastern flavours, tropical drinks, in a warm, cosy setting.
We were lucky enough to try their ‘Baby Got Banq’ banquet option: a generous two small, two large and one side dish. Let’s start small and make our way up.
For our small options, we picked rice paper rolls and crispy spring rolls. The tofu rice paper rolls were refreshing. The carrot was delightfully pickled, the mint and cucumber were crisp, and the pineapple hoisin sauce really hit the spot. The crispy traditional prawn spring rolls also delivered: the lettuce cups paired perfectly with the nuoc cham sauce. Starting strong!
Next up were the larger dishes. For my partner, the southside wings: signature sticky fried wings accompanied by a curated sweet, honey garlic sauce. His review? The sweetness of the sauce, with the garlic, made for a succulent, sticky wing. Would he have it again? Definitely.
I went the vegetarian route, choosing tofu flat rice noodles. I’m a fan of crunchy veg, so I was very glad to see carrots and broccoli. What especially appealed to me about this dish was the crispness of the tofu, and the overall flavour. It was clear that a lot of thought had been put into making the dish taste just right.
As a side, we picked the Asian coleslaw. It was crisp and fresh, and surprisingly sweet. I’d never had an Asian slaw before, so it was very new to me. If you’re used to mayo slaw, you might consider picking the fluffy jasmine rice instead.
How could we forget? For drinks, a Doss Blockos Pale Lager, and a coconut taro milk tea. Beer and wings, in a neon lit setting, makes for a great night.
The coconut taro milk tea is also worth a mention: sweet without being overly so, it was an ideal accompaniment to the dishes. Whilst we didn’t go down the cocktail route, there were plenty of options available. Whether you like lemon, espresso martinis, or Mai Tais, there’s an option for you – and I appreciated the Vietnamese twist included in all the drinks.
To end our ‘Baby Got Banq’ night out, we picked the Oreo Bao dessert. A highlight for sure: a crunchy bao bun, decadent chocolate sauce, and Oreo ice-cream (you can’t go wrong there!).
The dessert was my partner’s favourite part of the night, and for good reason too. Mine, the flat rice noodles. I appreciated the generous serving size, the flavours, and how juicy the tofu was.
Straight Outta Saigon is located on 138 Russell Street, Melbourne. Whether you’re in the mood for a cute date, or a fun night out with friends, I’d recommend booking in advance and heading on down. Considering what you’d order? Check out their menu here – and I heard their bao buns and Vietnamese curry are showstopping.
Daniela Koulikov is a freelance writer who loves vegan food, fun cocktails, and brunch.
If you’re ready to have a good night out, take a look at Straight Outta Saigon’s website.