Saigon Square, Highpoint.
Consider The Sauce has been curious, intrigued and finally delighted by the degree of style and quality of food we’ve found at the new-look food areas at two of the west’s major shopping centres – Highpoint and Pacific Wreribee.
This trend may have been apparent earlier in other parts of the city and country but the very idea that these institutions are worthy of a food journey – and not merely eating in when circumstances dictate – is one we wholeheartedly embrace.
As ever, I posted links to all three stories on my personal and Facebook pages, Twitter and a few other places.
But – always wanting our stories to be seen and hopefully read by as many as people as possible – I tried my luck with Highpoint and Pacific Werribee.
Would they be nice enough to post links on their Facebook pages?
From Highpoint I received cordial replies and a suggestion links would be forthcoming in a few weeks’ time.
It hasn’t happened yet and I’m not holding my breath.
From Pacific Werrribee, I received an equally cordial response but one that nevertheless equated to a blunt “no”.
Oh well …
I can’t say I blame them for keeping tight control of access to the eyeballs of their hard-won Facebook followers – almost 70,000 in the case of Highpoint, almost 14,000 in the case of Pacific Werribee.
If I was them, I’d do precisely the same.
Still, it’s always worth remembering that not all social media is equal.
And that for big and bigger business, we are all customers – or potential customers – no matter what sentiments are expressed on a day to day basis.
In the meantime, CTS will continue to post on our Facebook page links to the work of other bloggers, newspaper stories and whatever else we think our readers may find interesting and/or useful.
In the meantime, too, we are not done with Highpoint yet – we’re happy to bowl up to try the last of the centre’s new food area outlets to open, Saigon Square.
In this case, the assessment criteria are somewhat different.
Because of the quality and quantity of Vietnamese food in nearby Sunshine, Footscray and St Albans.
And because while we tried to look on the bright side of our last tango with Vietnamese at Highpoint, it was in hindsight very average.
As it turns out, there has been no need to keep high hopes in check, as the food we are served at Saigon Square is good (in one case) and brilliant (in another).
The menu (see below) is tightly chosen list of Vietnamese staples including pho, vermicelli, broken rice and banh mi, with prices on a par with what we all pay at the west’s Vietnamese neighbourhoods.
Bennie’s fried pork chop with veggies, fried egg and egg meat loaf ($12) – Vietnamese bacon and eggs is what we call it – is fine but seems to be lacking some of the embellishments we might find elsewhere.
Although a bowl of chicken broth is part of the deal.
I ask him: “So it’s not as good as you’d get in Footscray but better than you’d normally expect in a shopping centre – is that about right?”
His reply: “Yes!”
My bun bo hue (large $13, regular $12) is on a whole ‘nuther level.
This is the best meal it’s ever been my pleasure to enjoy in a shopping centre setting.
It’s only mildly spiced, which is only to be expected.
But the quality of every component is fine and fresh.
The accompanying sprouts and herbs are joined by shredded cabbage.
The sliced beef is very good.
And the brisket is thickly sliced, tender and absolutely marvellous – and a significant cut above what I’m routinely provided elsewhere.
The chop sticks are of the disposable, wooden variety but – as with the other outlets we’ve tried at the new Highpoint food area – all the other cutlery and crockery is the real deal.