Friday, 5 September 2014

Xage, Surry Hills

A lot of reviews on Urbanspoon say that Xage is not authentic Vietnamese.  Being very good at eating but also knowing a lot about Vietnamese food; I decided to try Xage on a Friday night.

I would have to concur with this statement! I think that the menu does not have the full complement of Vietnamese dishes like the National dish of Pho (Rice Noodle Soup) and also the dishes are lacking the flavours of Vietnamese dishes. Perhaps they have altered the palette for western tastes. Vietnamese cuisine is typically full of fresh herbs and POW BAM flavours even in your rice paper rolls. Herbs like mint and coriander magically transform a bite into a spring garden in your mouth.  However the Xage rolls are made with more subtle tastes.

Xage is located in Surry Hills, the swanky end of the city where you can expect to pay a few $$ for dinner and drinks. Xage is reasonably priced for the neighbourhood of Surry Hills but would be more pricey than your average Vietnamese Restaurant.

I made a reservation and was advised of several terms and conditions. It's good to know what you're in for.
Make sure you've arrived by 6:30pm within 10 minutes of your booking, bring your own alcohol, pay cash only or pay a surcharge of 3% on VISA (they don't take debit for some reason), you must leave by 8:30 pm.

The closest bottle shop or if you're Australian (Bottle-o) is at the Dolphin Hotel which is about 3 minutes away from Xage.

The honey tofu rice paper rolls (above) were really tasty and will set you back $11.5! Served with hot green chili sauce (which was not that hot), it was a great start to the meal. I'd definitely recommend ordering this as a starter.  The rolls are cut in half so they are bit size.  This is one of their signature entrees.

The prawn rice paper rolls (below) at $9.5 are normally my favourite but I don't think I would order this again. It was a bit tasteless with just a large pack of lettuce, vermicelli noodles and crumbed prawn.

I also had a taste of the (above) spring rolls at $8.90 of chicken shiitake spring rolls with ginger sauce. The spring rolls were thin and cut in half. The dish was good and added some crispy textures to the meal. Again, I would say this dish has been altered for a different (maybe Australian Modern) palette.

The below dish of three red chicken nem nuong skewers ($8.90) with a fish sauce was also a good little starter. Expect meaty bites of chicken with a tangy fish sauce.

Finally, I ordered the salt and pepper squid (below) which was $18.90.  It was more full of vegetables than squid. The tempura was light but the dish was unevenly cooked with some large chunks of squid not entirely cooked. I would probably give this dish a miss.

After genuinely missing my Vietnamese favourite flavours and dishes, I decided to end the meal there. I think you should try Xage for a nice dinner but don't expect an authentic Vietnamese meal. It's a nice restaurant. Make sure you book!

Xage Vietnamese on Urbanspoon

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