Straight Outta Saigon
A neon “it was all a dream” sign is all that remains of all-night pho joint Twenty Pho Seven. The Russell Street diner that blended R’n’B tunes with the sound of diners slurping noodles transformed into Straight Outta Saigon in March 2019, leaving the 24/7 concept behind, among other things.
Like sister venue Hochi Mama, Straight Outta Saigon’s food is Vietnamese. But here, things are more traditional than at its sister restaurant – with the occasional modern twist. Classic street-food dishes and pho from southern Vietnam are the focus. Plates are made for sharing. There’s a special of two small, two large and one side dish for $55, which is enough to feed two people.
Smaller options might include crisp vegetarian spring rolls with pickled carrot and daikon; fluffy soft-shell crab bao with cucumber, coriander, and kimchi mayo; and banh mi sliders. Larger is the whole fried flounder with sweet-chilli sauce or Hochi Mama’s signature fried chicken winglets.
Thit kho is caramelised pork belly cooked for six hours, served with boiled soy-marinated eggs, cucumber and salty-sweet nuoc mam sauce. Ho says the dish is a household staple in Vietnam and also traditionally served during Tet, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. Hearty bowls of vegan, chicken or beef pho are also available.
Tropical cocktails are inspired by the coastal Vietnamese cities of Nha Trang and Da Nang. Espresso Martinis are made extra creamy with the addition of condensed milk, and a gin cocktail made with Butterfly Pea tea (made from ternatea flowers) turns purple with a squeeze of lime.