Bistro Saigon, Ilkley
This little Ilkley restaurant is pretty much of a local’s secret because not many visitors to Ilkley stumble across Railway Road even though it’s only a stone’s throw from the elegant shops and watering holes of The Grove. And it was a local, an old TV colleague with a relentlessly good nose for food, that led Squidbeak there for a recent lunch. The headlines are simple: extremely tasty Vietnamese food… terrific value. Their Vietnamese meat or veg pancakes at £13 are a meal in themselves. The pancake is made from rice flour and coconut milk and the ‘meat’ one is stuffed with beef, prawns, pork, mushrooms, spring onions and beansprouts. It’s even better when paired with a starter from the £15 two course lunch deal – and when pork spare ribs with Vietnamese spices were like meeting that dish for the first time not the hundredth.
Chef Loc Bui comes from Saigon but also knows his way around Thai and Chinese cuisine and has put together one of those lip-smacking menus packed with all your favourite soups and noodles and Far Eastern flavours like lemongrass, basil, lime leaves and ginger. Wash it down with Tsingtao beer – the wine list and Anglo desserts are not what it’s about – and congratulate yourselves on finding the sort of place you’ll soon be smugly recommending: ‘I know this terrific little Vietnamese restaurant off the beaten track in Ilkley.’