An all-you-can-eat menu rather than a buffet with the food sitting out – that is the appeal of Sai Gon and what makes it stand out.
With visitors staying with me and more hungry mouths to feed it seemed like the right option and saved any worries about differing tastes.
If you haven’t visited the Crown Terrace eatery there’s a large amount of dishes on offer and unlike other popular buffet restaurants, the grub is all cooked to order as you peruse the menu until you’re fit to burst for £22.80 per person.
For appetisers we started as we meant to go on with quite arguably too much food.
We opt for the Imperial Hors D’Oeuvres for three – a posh name for a sharing platter essentially.
The plate came with crab claw, Vietnamese spring roll, barbecued spare rib, chicken satay skewers and seaweed.
I wasn’t impressed with the ribs if I was honest – although my two dining companions for the evening had no complaints – they were a bit dry and lacked any real meat for my liking.
However, everything else on the plate was delicious.
The seaweed and satay skewers were the particular stars of the dish.
Along with the platter we also opted for some smoked corn chicken – which boasted of being a popular house special on the menu.
It was pretty easy to see why this dish would be popular with customers. It was packed with flavour and very moreish, in fact we’d soon torn through two plates of the stuff.
Some elegant prawns – deep fried king prawns in the shape of a butterfly – and prawn toast also made an appearance at the table before we graduated on to the main courses.
Both followed on from where the platter had left off in terms of taste.
My compadres detoured onto the crispy aromatic duck next and with a plentiful supply of wraps and sauce were delighted with the offering.
Still unable, at the age of 31, to bring myself to consume a cute wee duck, I punted for the chicken and sweetcorn soup to plug the gap.
For mains we decided to share a mixture of dishes.
Crispy chilli beef and fried mussels in black bean sauce were the first two to appear.
Both dishes hit the spot perfectly. The third portion to appear was Thit Bo Na Ua – which to non-Vietnamese speakers like myself is fried beef fillet with pineapple and cashew nuts. Again there were absolutely no complaints here – the beef as flavoursome and tender and the dish had a lovely zingy, fresh flavour to it.
On the side we opted for fried noodles and egg fried rice.
For an obscene amount of good quality food and with the addition of drinks the bill still came in at under £80 – which isn’t bad all things considered.
There are definitely cheaper all-you-can-eat oriental restaurants in Aberdeen, but I’d argue for the most part they don’t offer the same quality or choice that Sai Gon does.
Staff are friendly and seem genuinely happy to see you.
The restaurant itself is a bit worn and some people may question the musical choices, which during our visit included Billy Joel, Bon Jovi and panpipe versions of Boyzone hits – for the record I have no problem with this – but it in no way detracts from the quality of food or service on offer at this wee Vietnamese gem in the city centre.