I think these guys have missed the boat a little with their namesake Restaurant 88. You wouldn’t immediately know this was a Vietnamese restaurant. However if you know anything about great food, you’ll have heard of it. There’s just something about the dark, peaceful decor with buddhas and plants, the fresh colour and stunning taste of this cuisine, and the delightful, gentle people that make this such an awesome place.
Having been almost entirely through their menu, I was excited to try something new for a change. The Saigon Lemongrass Chicken was fantastic. The lovely sweet and sour, fresh taste that’s left in your mouth just lingers. Hubby chose one of our other favourites, the mixed platter of Shaking Beef, and our friend ordered the entree of fresh spring rolls for her main. These were filled to the brim with pork, prawns, rice noodles and herbs and served with a delicious spicy bean dipping sauce.
The presentation is outstanding. Equally delicious faves to also try are the traditional Beef Noodle Soup, often referred to as Pho Bo, Drunken Salt and Pepper Baby Chicken, Vietnamese Prawn Two ways, Saigon Crispy Rice crepe and the chargrilled pork chops.
The mains are about $29-$30, but you’re paying for quality and they are a good size for sharing if you’re not overly hungry. You can also choose a banquet menu if you’re with a group.
There’s no shortage of beverages with great wine, beer or themed cocktails e.g. Saigon Sunset or Ping Pong. They also serve great coffee and tea. Have you ever had a Vietnamese coffee? It’s a must.
I’m not generally a fan of Asian desserts, however I’m sure the Vietnamese Coconut Icecream, Hot Chocolate Brownies or Creme Caramel won’t disappoint, nor the dessert wines.
Luke the owner has learned to cook from his Mum and another mentor, so we benefit from this as passes on his love for food, cooking, and passion for peace and harmony to us.
Opening in 2004, Vietnamese 88 has survived Wellington’s fast turnover of cafes and restaurants, and it’s definitely a stayer.