Le Garcon Saigon: New Southern Vietnamese

From talking Bep/Nha Trang to Viet Kitchen, to my latest favourite beef pho spot, Bun Cha, it’s clear that I love my Vietnamese food. While my Vietnamese ventures almost always consist of ordering beef pho, Le Garcon Saigon focuses on Southern cuisine, where beef pho is apparently not as big a thing – well basically they don’t serve pho at all.

Located near Pacific Place 3/Star Street in Wan Chai/Admiralty, this place is buzzing like no other in the area. I’ll be honest to say that I found it just a bit too noisy though. The prices are admittedly quite a bit higher than your usual casual Viet affair, but I loved all the dishes and service was more than excellent, hence I’d still recommend going for it.

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Wagyu beef tartare – HK$158

Looking back, the wagyu steak tartare (one of our starters) turned out to be the most expensive dish we ordered. Well that’s not too bad a news since the absolute price is not too high and these are typically not cheap elsewhere anyway. The meat texture lived up to the fattiness its name suggested. Every bite was very tender and relatively beefy in flavour, considering that rare beef usually lacks taste. Plus it was paired super well with the Asian cracker.

Papaya salad – HK$68

We were getting a lot of meaty dishes so some sort of salad seemed necessary. The papaya salad was great – bursting with flavours of sour, spicy, salty etc. And it was definitely worth it for the price. That said, I find that I do have a lot of great papaya salads in most Vietnamese places, so I guess I can’t say this one stood out in a special way.

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Skewers – HK$128-138 for three

Skimming through the skewers section on the menu, I was not really getting bang for buck feelings. But when they came, they were not stingy in the portions either; there was quite a lot of meat on each stick. We had the wagyu beef and chicken ones and they were both juicy, flavourful and super yum. The best part is that they serve it with Vietnamese rice paper rolls, lettuce, mint leaves, coriander etc. for you to wrap up in a spring roll yourself. It was fun, delicious and in the end, worth it.

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Banh Xeo – HK$128

I had this at the famous Quan An Ngon in Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi some time back and it was so revolutionary to my tastebuds that I’ve been desperate to find a similar one in Hong Kong. Although this one was still quite different, it’s the yummiest replica of it I’ve had so far in this city. The outer layer is extremely thin and crispy, while the stuffing was perfectly portioned and tasty. However they didn’t serve it with rice paper rolls – not at all sure if that’s the tradition, but a super delicious combo!

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Flan and cookie – HK$68

I felt a bit crushed when this was served as it didn’t look too inspiring. Plus, I was already convinced by the Pandan waffle with mascarpone cheese from the moment I sat down. But our waiter’s conviction in recommending the flan, which is topped with Vietnamese coffee and served with a chocolate cookie, was so strong; he even said something like, “trust me this one time”. So I couldn’t say no.

One bite into the silky soft flan and I was immediately relieved that I didn’t feel regretful. The flan is super smooth and soft, pudding-like. We were warned that it would be very sweet but I didn’t really think so – the sweetness was absolutely perfect. Of course the tad of Vietnamese coffee on top added an excellent twist to the dessert, which I supposed also balanced out the sweetness. It’s meant to be eaten with the “Chocolate Stable” which is quite dry and crumbly for that reason. Although the dry cookie did go quite well with the flan, I still wasn’t a huge fan of it.

Great food, vibes and service

The bill came up to almost HK$800 between two and although the dinner was great and we enjoyed everything (seating environment, service and food), I did stop and suspect this meal was a bit overpriced, especially considering I usually only pay HK$200 per person at other Vietnamese places. Then again, none of the Vietnamese places I know would actually be appropriate for a social gatherings of more than two friends (vibe-wise and table-booking-wise). So it may not become a regular spot, but good vibes, good food and that the curiosity to try the Pandan waffle, will definitely bring me back for more.

Le Garcon Saigon
12-18 Wing Fung Street (next to PP3)
Wan Chai

Phone: 2455 2499

Spend per person: HK$400

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