Imagine being transported all the way across the Ocean and to a lush, green place, rich in history from its ancient past as it is modern and elegant: a place that bewitches you instantly. No, you don’t need a plane ticket to find this paradise, you just have to walk into Saigon, a new Vietnamese restaurant in Milan. Saigon opened a month ago but it has already left its mark on the culinary map of the city thanks to its carefully designed venue, excellent service, and obviously thanks to its great food that can conquer even the most reluctunt European eaters, with its twists on typical cooking that make anything easier to approach.
How could we not give it a try and report to our beloved readers? Hard work but someone’s gotta do it. Off we went to our reserved table and we asked the staff for advice so that we could try foods as diverse as possible and put the restaurant menu to the test.
We started out treating ourselves to a drink: Saigon is both a restaurant and a cocktail bar, and it’s open before and after dinner time. Together with the regular staples of any bar, Saigon also offers a list of six signature cocktails inspired by Vietnam. We tried the Earl Gray Martini, Camélie and Zen, all of which were impressive not just in taste, but also in presentation and vessel. Sipping your drink at the bar, sitting on one of the high red-velvet-covered stools, will make you feel like you’re inside one of Marguerite Duras’s novels – and there’s just no better way to prepare for the meal to come.
Once you’ve sat at your table, surrounded by kentia palms and in the dim light and warm ambience which are the perfect ingredients of an intimate dinner, we suggest you let the waiting staff help you pick the right dishes and the right wine (or cocktails – they go perfectly with the food, too!). We opted to share plenty of appetizers and were delighted by how well all the flavors worked together among them and with the sauces they come with; the goi cuon with soybean sauce and the chao tom, i.e. shrimps on sugarcane, with plum sauce, are our new obsession! We were also utterly impressed by how familiar these foreign flavours felt.
Before you leave, take a moment to take a tour of the upper floor and explore the restrooms, a fantastic little corner of Saigon restaurant completely covered in flowery wallpaper. We promise you’ll forget you’re even in Milan!