40 Beach Road,
The ViewAuckland Review
If you’re a regular at events like the various Farmers’ Markets around town, or the International Cultural Festival, you’ve probably already seen the Saigonz caravan, painted black and green, and serving up excellent Vietnamese food. The team behind Saigonz have now opened their first restaurant, and it’s also a goodie.
Location-wise Saigonz is down in the area of Beach Rd where a new apartment block seems to go up every six months or so. It’s a smart place to open with Saigonz already proving popular with the significant population of Asian students in the area.
Unlike the majority of Auckland’s other Vietnamese restaurants, Saigonz has a modern ambience with polished concrete floors and walls combining with bright colours. Strips of bamboo and black and white pictures of old Saigon add an Asian influence. It’s actually a fairly informal space, as much takeaway as restaurant, and not the kind of place to linger for a leisurely meal. However if you’re after quick service and great Vietnamese flavours look no further.
On a couple of separate visits I’ve tried the Vietnamese Crepes (Banh xeo, $9.50,) and the Vietnamese Bread Roll (Banh mi, $7). Saigonz’ versions of these two traditional Vietnamese streetfoods are both excellent. The crepes are crammed full of onions, bean sprouts, chives, and a choice of filling. The pork and pawn filling combines well with the crunchy vegetables inside. The Vietnamese Bread Rolls are the ideal Asian alternative to Subway with a toasted baguette lined with homemade pate, and then stuffed full of meat – try the lemongrass pork – and julienne vegetables, spring onion and fragrant coriander. Other light meals turned out by the open kitchen include gossamer-light fresh ‘summer’ rolls, zingy chicken salad, and pho, the hearty beef noodle soup that’s a favourite breakfast dish in Vietnam.
The first Saigonz to open is a welcome addition to Auckland’s eating scene. Let’s hope it’s the first of an expanding and successful franchise.
Saigonz has been reviewed by 1 users