Pho Fridays pt 5 – Saigonese Kitchen
Invited to be the guest blow-in for Pho Friday, I had to give some thought to how one rates the popular Vietnamese noodle soup. What is it that draws me back to experiencing yet another bowl of this lovely aromatic dish? Why is it so satisfying? What qualities set one example apart from another?
With these important questions in mind I headed out to lunch to try the Saigonese Kitchen in Kogarah. It’s only small, with ten tables, light, airy and clean. The décor was minimal, the service prompt and attentive, utensils clean, and the requisite condiments were on the table – hot chilli sauce, chilli oil, and Hoisin sauce. Also, there were real paper napkins – making a nice change from the ubiquitous box of tissues. All the better for when the sweat starts to run (not to mention the nose), as a consequence of always using too much chilli.
I decided on the “Special” Pho (with rare beef, flanks, beef balls, tendons). It did occur to me that they might be over-promising, given that if I was to take this description literally, then I could expect my lunch to arrive in a very large bucket.
My steaming hot bowl of specialness arrived after 5mins and 38secs (maybe I’m taking this role a bit seriously!), and I decided to give some attention to the broth before loading on the condiments. Good decision!
Ah, the broth! That’s why I keep coming back.
Noodles are noodles and the meat is ok, but the broth is worth talking about. It’s complex in flavour – with hints of … something or other, fragrant, and salty. Today’s dish was salted just right (not bad given that the author has been known to eat Vegemite directly from a spoon)!
The richness of the broth was offset by the sweetness of the spring onions, the freshness of the Thai basil, and the crunch of sprouts. Altogether, the Special Pho was a satisfying dish. I’ll be back!
Pho Fridays Ranking: 4th
Address: 3/55 Railway Parade, Kogarah.
Check out the Pho Fridays ladder as it stands.
- Mê Phở (Kogarah) 3.625/4
- Ha Noi Quan (Campsie) 3.375/4
- Pasteur (Haymarket) 3/4
- Saigonese Kitchen (Kogarah) 2.75/4
- Gia Hoi (Haymarket) 2.7/4