We had the pleasure of being invited to Le Charme De Saigon, a Vietnamese restaurant which recently opened on Little Bourke St in Chinatown, Melbourne CBD. We dined in the lovely company of Bearabbit, Tim.E and Simmy.
I instantly loved the decor of the place upon entering. Recently renovated, the walls and trimmings were painted a dark modern teal, with lovely lotus lamps, and tree like lights hanging from the ceiling. It certainly had a nice charm to it!
We started the night off with some cocktails, Davin ordering the Salted Caramel Expresso Martini, and I ordering the Ultimate Lychee Martini. My lychee martini was really nice and refreshing. Davin’s cocktail was on the sweet side and didn’t have that strong coffee flavour we generally look out for. It may have been that the salted caramel and kahlua was overpowering the coffee itself.
For food, we started off with a tasting plate called ‘A Little of Everything’. It had spring roll, viet sausage, shrimp cake, chicken skewer and prawn crackers. This was a lovely appetising starter dish and everything was fried to perfection. The batter on everything was light and crispy.
We then had the lamb san choy bow and DIY crispy duck with bao (steam bun). Both the lamb and duck was fried with crispy skin. The sauces that went with both dishes were probably more on the sweet side for us. The duck in particular was quite dry, however we understand this dish cooked authentically is supposed to be this way, therefore knowing that, it made more sense to us.
The Saigon curry beef brisket stew with baguette came up next. This was a delicious dish! It brought back memories of my grandma making Vietnamese curry for me when I was little. The sauce was flavoured to perfection and it had a lovely consistency with the perfect amount of heat to it! I loved dipping the bread and scooping up all the curry sauce. The beef itself was a bit tough however overall it was a great dish.
The North Viet supreme soup with fish fillet was also really nice and flavoured. It was an appetising dish. Davin’s favourite dish of the night however was the stir fried clam with X.O sauce. I have to say it was a really tasty dish! We haven’t had this in a while and it was full of flavour. It even had the lovely crunchy chinese donuts mixed in and soaked with the X.O sauce.
We also really liked the Saigon seafood rice broth, the seafood was really fresh and we loved the crispy rice in the broth which gave it a different texture with each bite. This is a dish we would definitely order again!
Overall we had a great experience, and the food was good. Being Vietnamese however, I do note that a lot of the dishes are more Chinese or Malaysian than authentic Vietnamese. Perhaps it should be labelled more as an Asian restaurant than Vietnamese. Anyway, if you’re ever around this area, check it out and let us know your thoughts!
Le Charme De Saigon
Approx $35 AUD per person
Address: Shop 3, 178 Little Bourke Street, CBD, Melbourne
Phone: +61 3 9663 3321