Straight Outta Saigon
Located in the former Twenty-Pho Seven space, this neon-lit Vietnamese spot still serves up cocktails and pho — just not 24 hours a day.
The Russell Street space most recently home to Twenty-Pho Seven has had a shake-up. It has transformed into the neon-lit Straight Outta Saigon — and it no longer serves up pho 24 hours a day.
Owners Midawell Phal, Thai Ho and George Do — also the minds behind Hochi Mama — are sticking with the vibrant Vietnamese flavours they've made a name for, but this time around they've created a space that's little more intimate and a menu designed for long 6pm dinners instead of speedily slurped bowls of 3am noodle soup.
Now, to match a strengthened focus on the restaurant's dine-in experience, the menu is more extensive, with everything from traditional soups to modern snacks and slow-cooked meats. You'll find stand-outs like a signature pho, in a range of beef, chicken, ox-tail and vegan varieties, with a sprawling lineup of add-ons to match. Small plates might include the likes of traditional beef betel leaf skewers, fresh rice paper rolls stuffed with crisp pork belly or tofu, and a couple of sliders inspired by the humble banh mi.
Larger feasts call for plates like the caramelised lamb ribs, served with spicy sauce and slaw, a serve of fried chicken winglets, or the restaurant's rendition of thit kho starring six-hour slow-cooked pork.
If you've got at least two diners, you can save the decision-making and order the $29.50 chef's menu, featuring two smalls, two large plates and a side. And groups of eight or more can take advantage of a shared set menu for an easy $39 each.
A comfy, neon-splashed design sets the tone of the space, while the bar offering's also one to keep you sticking around. You'll find imported Asian brews for cutting through the spice, alongside playful cocktails like the namesake Straight Outta Saigon — a punchy fusion of vodka, cucumber, lemon, mint and ginger beer, spiked with fresh red chillies.