If Hanoi Hannah is the popular, ‘it girl’ of Prahran then Saigon Sally is most definitely her mysterious but ever so suave older sister. Hidden down an elusive, graffiti-clad alleyway, just off the hipster end of Chapel Street, this funky little restaurant is a sight to be seen before you even walk in the door.
Dripping in coolness in every way possible, the Saigon Sally building is an ode to Melbourne alleyways inside and out. The exterior is covered in bright graffiti, while a line of colourful sneakers hanging over a wire decorates the alley beside the restaurant. Inside, the spacious bar/restaurant hybrid is dimly lit, showing just enough light to flaunt an enormous, Asian style Audrey Hepburn mural and a large array of bottles (of every kind of spirit imaginable!) hanging precariously above the huge bar in the middle of the room.
Head Chef, Adrian Li’s menu focuses on modern Vietnamese sharing-style food. Along with coeliac pastry chef, Felix Goodwin, Adrian has created a menu that focuses on serious flavour with a touch of spice and a truckload of fun.
Saigon Sally guests can expect delicious creations such as the banh eeo tacos with prawn, pork, coconut, turmeric, bean shoots and spring onions or the slow-cooked beef cheek with charred pineapple sambal, midnight curry and longan. Top it all off with one of Felix’s mouth-watering gluten-free desserts and you are in for a serious treat; the banh bo nut Vietnamese doughnut with salted galangal caramel and toasted coconut sorbet has been the talk of the town for quite some time.
Never fear though, the fun certainly does not stop with the food at Saigon Sally. The drinks list features an array of red, white and bubbly wines hailing from Victoria and far beyond, as well as a collection of beers both well known and slightly left of centre.
However, the real excitement rests in the cocktail list. A collection of Vietnamese takes on some classic cocktails plus a few funky newcomers is sure to get you up and about. Titles such as the Gal’n’Gal Lychee Martini and the Danang Slam are sure to tickle your fancy but if not the boys behind the bar will happily whip you up something a little more mainstream.
The self-acclaimed most elusive mistress of Windsor, Saigon Sally is everything you could want and more in the south sides’ funkiest foodie suburb. One of the more refined Vietnamese eateries of Melbourne, the food and drinks are sure to both pack a punch, leaving you eager to return for round two sooner rather than later.