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Interesting places I've spotted recently, but I'm too skint to visit

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-Last night we spotted a Catalan/Spanish wine bar on Highbury Park/Blackstock Rd in Finsbury Park. It looked lovely and made me think fondly of yuppy neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Have decided to go when our fortunes turn with Catalan friend.

-Puji Puji Malaysian food on Balls Pond Rd. Menu looks scrumptious but exterior has fake wood made Disneyland style with cement.

-Peruvian on east side Kingsland Rd between Balls Pond Road and the Oxfam. This is new and it looks like they are trying to decide if it is a restaurant or a bar.

-In our hunt for the best chili lemon grass tofu bun in all of Hackney, we had great success at the Vietnamese social club on Englefield Rd. It was a madhouse with very very slow service, but the tofu bun exceeded our standby favorite at Tay Do Cafe. I will try again on at an odd hour. The eggplant was lovely and smoky; it tasted like something in between Lebanon and Japan, which I guess Vietnam fits into.

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  1. Puji Puji is an excellent local - really lovely spicy and authentic Malay food. Not too bad inside really, compared to some of the horrors you see in town they have painted it a deep red and there are some bamboo wall hangings but the decor is not bad enough to stop a visit! I think it used to be a hair dresser so they probably didnt have a great starting point and I imagine not a lot of cash to do it up.

    I think that the Peruvian you are talking about has been there for awhile but only just tarted up - there is a Peruvian bar on Balls Pond Rd as well but I haven't made it there yet myself either.

    I've always found the Huong Viet to be a bit average as well - funnily enough that eggplant with spring onions is the the best thing I've had on the menu too.

    I find the Bun at Pho on St John & Great Titchfield streets are both really good and given that Pho and Bun are pretty much all they do you would hope so. I think there is a post on here which is pretty much the definitive Vietnamese debate if you find Pho a bit too commercial http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/315165
    Ive been following it to the point where i am planning a trip to Deptford...

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    1. re: condimentqueen

      We finally went to Pujipuji last night and are so upset we didn't go sooner! We had:
      Rojak Buah Salad: with apples, fried tofu, and amazing texture and complex flavour, (I wish there was fresh pineapple rather than tinned)
      Roti Canai (good, but didn't taste homemade)
      Goreng Kunyit: steamed aubergine in spicy sauce that was sublime.
      Taugeh Goreng Tauhu: stir fried bean sprouts w tofu. I was expecting something on the duller or sad sack side, but this was subtle and good.
      Steamed rice (very nice pickled carrots with it!)

      Free prawn crackers with nice peanut sauce, and no charge for BYOB. New favorite, but granted I live and work around the corner. It ended up costing what we'd pay at a Kingsland Vietnamese, but the service was far superior.