This week's grand tour continues. The final leg before home was Newcastle and I was after something with a bit of zip and zing to it after the previous nights debacle. I spent quite a lot of time working in Newcastle a couple of years ago so I knew it had a Vietnamese place. Situated incongruously on the Bigg Market across the road from a row of neon doner and chips emporia is Little Saigon.
Free prawn crackers arrived promptly and I ordered a saigon beer to wash them down with. First up, a salad of prawn and papaya. I love South-east Asian salads, the kings of the salad world without a shadow of a doubt. The range of textures and flavours crammed into each mouthful brings sheer gustatory pleasure not always associated with the word 'salad'. This was a fine example, soft prawns, crunchy peanuts, crisp juicy papaya, crispy fried onions. Classic hot/sour/sweet/salty dressing. I wolfed it down in no time. The only criticism I have is that it was a touch too sweet/salty and not quite hot/sour enough. More chilli and lime please.
For main course beef with lemongrass, chilli and onion. Not as successful as the salad, the sauce was a bit gloopy (possibly reduced with cornflour) and there wasn't much chilli or lemongrass involved. It tasted generally fine though and the beef was tender.
A good option overall, we don't have too many Vietnamese restaurants in the North (is there one in Leeds at all??) so the more the merrier. My dinner was £21 for the salad, the main, steamed rice, one beer and service.
6 Bigg Market