Restaurant review: Le Garcon Saigon, Wan Chai – Vietnamese cuisine worth the wait
Dishes packed with flavour, eager staff, attractive ambience and superb sounds make dining at this popular establishment a real treat
We can understand why Le Garcon Saigon is so popular that we had a hard time booking a table: it’s a pretty little spot with a good buzz, great music played at a reasonable volume and attentive service. And the food? Thoroughly enjoyable.
Rice paper rolls (HK$58) stuffed with Chinese sausage, crisp jicama, lettuce and herbs were a light start to the meal, with lots of textures and flavours.
Lotus stem salad (HK$78) was crunchy and bright, and had delicious sesame dressing. Fried spring rolls (HK$98) were well stuffed, well fried, piping hot and served with plenty of greenery that included culantro (also known as sawtooth herb), mint leaves, basil and fresh coriander, although oddly, there were only three lettuce leaves to wrap the four spring rolls in (we asked for another and received it).
The grilled skewers sounded more tempting than the meat and seafood mains, so we ordered two from that section. The pork meatballs (HK$128 for three), served with a hoisin dipping sauce, were moist and tender, but we liked the deep flavour of the Mayura wagyu beef tri-tip (HK$148 for three), paired with tangy pineapple sauce, even more. The skewers came with herbs, pickled carrot and white radish, rice noodles, and lettuce and rice paper, which we used to wrap the meat.
We ordered the banh xeo (HK$148) as a challenge to the kitchen – I’ve never eaten a good version at any restaurant in Hong Kong. This was as good as we’ve tasted in Vietnam. The turmeric-scented crêpe was thin, light and delicate, and was folded over crisp bean sprouts, shrimp and sliced chorizo (not traditional, but a good addition).
Dessert was an odd-sounding mix of smoked coconut ice cream, meringue, banana, sago and peanuts (HK$78), but we liked the different textures and temperatures: chewy, warm sago, crunchy meringue, and ice cream that had just the right amount of smokiness so it didn’t overwhelm.
Our table reservation was for 7.30pm and we were told when we booked that we needed to give the table back by 8.45pm. We finished a little later than that but the staff didn’t kick us out, and the food came at a good pace so we didn’t feel rushed.
Le Garcon Saigon, Regal Court, 12-18 Wing Fung St, Wan Chai, tel: 2455 2499. About HK$270 without drinks or the service charge
Four other Vietnamese restaurants we reviewed recently