Le Charme De Saigon

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
Website: le-charme-de-saigon.business.site


Le Charme De Saigon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Quan Lua

Being Vietnamese, I’ve grown up eating Vietnamese food at home and at the restaurants in Springvale where I’ve had the pleasure of being served authentic dishes. Don’t ever expect any customer service and a clean environment when you’re eating in these restaurants. You’re there for the food and that is it! However over the past few years I have noticed a lot more modern looking Vietnamese restaurants popping up in Springvale.

We recently discovered a fairly new restaurant called Quan Lua that opened up with apparently really good Bun bo Hue. Now for those that don’t know, Bun bo Hue is a spicy Vietnamese noodle soup from Hue, a city in central Vietnam. Davin and I have both had our fair share of this dish in our lifetime and so when a friend of ours told us how good it was there, it certainly piqued our interest.

Located on Buckingham Avenue along a strip of other restaurants and shops, Quan Lua is a smallish no nonsense restaurant. When you enter, you know it’s the real deal when there are only true blue Vietnamese customers dining inside.

For drinks I ordered the iced kumquat drink which was delicious. Davin has never been a fan of kumquat in general but I love it. He stuck to just hot tea.

But we were there of course for their famous Bun bo Hue so we ordered 2 bowls of it and excitedly waited with much anticipation. They came out in large generous bowls piping hot with the usual sides of lime wedges, mint, bean sprouts and other greens to mix in with your Bun bo Hue. The first thing we noticed was that it was packed full of goodies to devour! They definitely didn’t cheapen out as the bowls had lots of beef and pork slices, cubes of pig blood and large pork knuckles.

The first thing I always do when eating a soupy dish is to take a sip of the broth to get a sense of the flavours. The broth was so beautifully flavoured. It had the perfect amount of spiciness combined with the lovely sour and salty flavours to make it a killer broth. The noodles were also perfectly bouncy and not too soft. Coated in the flavoured broth, I enjoyed slurping up every bit of noodle. The beef and pork portions were generous with the right amounts of fat attached to it, however it was the pig blood that was really special. These cubes of blood was so delicate like jelly, and so fresh! I don’t think I’ve ever had pig blood that fresh before.

Verdict? Probably the best Bun bo Hue I’ve had in a long time! Highly recommend! However if you do feel like another soup noodle dish there, I also recommend their country style chicken noodle soup which is also amazing. The broth is herbal based and also really flavoured. The chicken literally just falls off the bone too!

Quan Lua
Approx $15 AUD
Address: 23A Buckingham Ave, Springvale VIC 3171
Phone: +61 (0)401 211 888

Quan Lua Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Twenty Pho Seven

We were recently invited to dine at Twenty Pho Seven located on Russell St in the CBD. Yes you read right! It’s a play on words for a twenty four seven pho place! For those of you who may not know what pho is, it is a Vietnamese bowl of soup noodles. Being Vietnamese myself, I have had many bowls of pho in my lifetime, through my family cooking it up at home, at authentic local Vietnamese restaurants, and even in Vietnam when I went on a family trip many years ago. So it’s safe to say that I had high expectations on the pho at this place!

Our first observation when we arrived outside was that it was a perfect location for a 24 hour restaurant. It was in the heart of it all and I could really see people showing up in the wee early hours of the morning after a night out partying in the city for a hearty bowl of pho for the soul. It provides a great alternative to greasy fast food. Why wouldn’t anyone want some soup noodles to cure a hangover? We also loved that on the feature wall, there was Bruce Lee holding a bowl of pho.

We were warmly greeted by Taeeun who provided us with some menus and talked us through the options. We started off with a couple of cocktail bubble cups. I ordered the Whisky Business and Davin ordered the Good Morning Vietnam. I’ve always loved whisky sours but this one was probably more on the very sour side. The Good Morning Vietnam cocktail however was really good! It was a unique take on the traditional Vietnamese coffee and we loved it.

For entrees we ordered the Bo la lot Beef Skewers which is beef in betel leaf skewers served with nuts and nuoc mam sauce. This was super tasty! The beef was flavoured really well. We also got the Nem Nuong rice paper rolls. The rice paper rolls were huge and the ingredients were really fresh. The Nem Nuong was not salty at all which can often be the case.

Our highlight entree dish however was the Hanoi honey glazed fried chicken. Oh. My. Gosh. It was SO good! They came out piping hot, the skin was super crispy and yet the chicken was so moist inside. In fact when I took a bite, I think some of the moisture from the chicken dribbled out onto the table. Oops. The flavours were also spot on, it was sweet, tangy and really appetising.

For mains I of course had to order my usual pho of choice which was also their best seller, pho with sliced beef. Given I had already ordered pho, Davin decided to opt for the Bun Bo Hue which is a spicy noodle soup. The bun bo hue was probably not as flavoured as the soup base tasted a bit watered down. However the pho was really good. The soup base of the pho was flavoured really well and I loved that they provided extra pickled onions on the table. My only comment was that the sliced beef was more on the tough side, ordinarily we love our beef on the rarer side. However other than that it was a pretty decent bowl of pho!

Overall it was a great experience and a place we would definitely come back again when we’re in the CBD and craving those deliciously fried chicken wings and a hearty bowl of pho!

Twenty Pho Seven
Approx $30 AUD per person
Address: 138 Russell St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: +61 3 9654 2024
Website: twentyphoseven.com.au

Twenty Pho Seven Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato