Melbourne’s Most Elusive Mistress

It’s the home of the famous tira-mi-Sally, the fish is a must and the cocktail menu is a little bonkers. For this Trade Secrets we get up close and comfy with Nic Coulter, one of the honchos at Saigon Sally, a jewel in the crown of wild Windsor.

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So how old are you here in Sally?
We are almost four. We opened Hanoi Hannah in February 2012, then we opened here in February 2013, then Tokyo Tina was opened end of 2014.

Can we discuss the go-to-dish on the menu here?
Kingfish Ceviche is the go-to. It’s been on the menu since day one. 90% of the customers order it, it’s the first menu item, people don’t really go past it… it’s one of those things that just works.

What’s the biggest cocktail on the list, what’s the one you’re so sick of making?
Charlie Don’t Surf does really well. It’s raspberry, Prosecco, chilli rum and Vietnamese mint. The chilli is a really good hit.

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Is the name a reference to Charlie (who heads up the front of house)?
 
*Laughs* It’s actually not!

How many edible flowers do you reckon you punch through a week?
About eight to ten bunches.

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Is this as much as a Tinder hotspot as Tokyo Tina?
Yeah, because the bar’s a bit more casual for, like first dates. It’s always loud… if you’re running out of conversation, just stick to the bar!

At the end of the night, what is your go-to knock-off drink?
Generally beer, something simple. Like obviously you can’t summon cocktails from the bartenders, so just like a real cheap, easy beer.

Can you let people in on the secret behind the restaurant, are there any flavours or additions or things that you really stand behind… without giving too much away?
In terms of like food and drink?

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Food or drink or anything else, how do you keep the plants alive?!
*Laughs* Yeah, that’s a really hard one, actually. I think the big thing we do really well is the vibe, the lighting, the music, the attitude of the staff. I think that’s what really hits it home. You can hear tables talking especially in the middle of the night and it’s the little things that some people just don’t think about that we do really well. It’s just making people feel really comfortable in this space, I know when I’ve been to venues, I been like, ‘Oh my God it’s so grown up’.

Biggest selling spirit?
Gin. We’re doing a gin menu now… We pick five gins for the month and the bartenders pair them up with different spices.

Awesome.

Saigon Sally

2 Duke St, Windsor

(03) 9533 2342

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