A writer sharing travels, experiences, a love of festivals & events. Life is a journey and I hope to inspire others. Visit my blog at https://www.travelwithirenke.blogspot.com
Published April 25th 2016
Nestled in a quieter area of North Sydney away from the rushing 9-5'ers you'll find Retro Saigon, a restaurant bringing traditional Vietnamese food and family recipes to the table along with an intimate vibe.
Easy to find opposite The Bears' old home ground of North Sydney Oval, we lunched on a week day and decided to sit out the back in the courtyard. A shade of greenery, a slight breeze and the calming sounds of water running from the little fountain had us relaxed from the beginning.
For drinks, my husband tried the Saigon Beer and was impressed with this lager whilst I had a Lemon Lime Bitters. The latter was not too sweet and I loved the old-style bottle it came in. We perused the menu and each tried something different.
Enjoying the courtyard
Entrees are varied and include pho (noodle soups), dancing tiger prawns, fish cakes, salt & pepper squid, various rolls with fillings and meat wrapped around cane sticks. Hubby chose the Summer Rolls which consisted of cooked prawns, braised pork, salad and herbs rolled in rice paper with a peanut sauce on the side. He enjoyed the fillings in the 'sticky' covering.
The service here was very quick and our waitress very friendly.
A little breather and we were on to the mains. The menu has favourites, such as stir fry noodles with chicken, beef and pineapple, bean curd and seafood as well as chef's choices of caramelised salmon fillet in coconut juice, braised pork belly, lemongrass chilli chicken with cashew nuts, and more. Refreshing salads round out the dishes.
Chargrilled Pork Chop with fried eggs atop steamed rice
For this course, my other half ordered the Chargrilled Pork Chop with fried eggs on a mound of steamed rice, a touch of salad and sauce. It filled him to the brim. My main was the Pork Belly braised in coconut juice with a noodle salad and steamed rice. The pork was very tender and smelt so good the lady at the table behind me advised the waitress that she wanted what I was having.
Pork Belly braised in Coconut Juice with noodle salad and steamed rice
By this stage we were both feeling quite full but being a dessert lover I had to try something from the sweets selection. We moved inside to take in a different ambience and admire the 'retro' in this establishment whilst I delighted in my Banana Fritter triangles and crushed nuts atop vanilla ice cream. The pastry covering the bananas was beautifully light and flaky and a winner with the creaminess of the ice cream.
The desserts menu also includes treats such as Black Sticky Rice with Mango & Coconut Cream, Signature Coconut Banana Dessert with Sago Pudding and Fried Ice Cream with various flavoured toppings.
All courses are reasonably priced here with entrees mostly under $10, the majority of mains under $20 and desserts under $7. Vegetarians are well catered for along with those that eat gluten-free. A range of teas, coffees and sodas are on offer, and being fully licensed, an assortment of beers and wines to indulge in.
Apart from the food, the atmosphere is serene and with the dimmer lighting inside I could easily have rested my head on the comfy lounge bench seat with its throw pillows. Lots of interesting retro ornaments on shelfs built against the front window added to the timber table look and the wine bottles at the counter wall with glowing light bulbs above, made this one very special experience.
Located at 55 Ridge Street, Retro Saigon is open Mon-Fri for lunch from 11am-3pm and 7 days for dinner from 5pm-10pm. On the whole, it is an interesting fusion of flavours bringing the tastes of Saigon to Sydney.