Cheap and cheerful.
That was the only stipulation I gave my girlfriends when deciding where to eat for our Friday night catchup: somewhere we could get a table without waiting and get change for a $50.
Xage (pronounced ‘Sage’) was our answer.
Hailed by many as the new Phamish, Xage is located on the ever accessible Crown Street gastrostrip. A small and cosy place with a handful of alfresco tables, Xage is refreshingly unpretentious. The service is efficient, friendly and very attentive.
There is a good mix of classic Vietnamese dishes, with a few bold signatures – such as the caramelised pork belly and beef curry.
We order the crispy spring rolls and duck summer rolls as our entrees. There is something new and surprising in the flavour of these two dishes. I hazard a guess that it’s some form of celery. Both dishes are also accompanied with bright and flavourful dipping sauces, which is a nice change from the standard nuóc chám.
Like Phamish, entrees are Xage’s strong suit. However, also like Phamish, Xage stumbles a little when it comes to the mains.
My pork belly was tender and well balanced in terms of flavour but too ‘gooey’ for my liking. The chicken curry baffled my friend Miranda at first, but it slowly grew on her. Meanwhile the grilled chicken salad, although tasty, had too little vermicelli to satisfy my friends Jess and Amelia.
At the end of the night, we had all eaten more than our fair share of food. And for only $25 a head, it was a steal of a meal.
333 Crown Street
# 02 9332 3344
Open 7 days a week for dinner from 6pm-10pm. Open for lunch starting from March 2010.