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Vietnamese London

dryrain Mar 22, 2011 06:38 AM

Can anyone recommend and Vietnamese restaurants in London? I was there a few years ago and went to some but can not remember the area of London that they were in.

Thanks

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  1. e
    emusinthezone Mar 22, 2011 06:59 AM

    There are enclaves of Vietnamese restaurants around Shoreditch High Street and Deptford (a good thread on the latter can be found here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/691070 ).

    There's no one restaurant that's outstanding at everything, but if you like pho and you're adventurous then the pho menu at Song Que is of particular note - there must be about 20/30 variations and lots of them offal based (tripe and tendon etc), plus the broth is exceptional.

    1. a
      astereilla Mar 23, 2011 12:33 AM

      I like Cafe East in Surrey Quays - only for their pho, though; they have a short menu. But I'm a bit biased seeing as I live 3 minutes away!

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      Cafe East
      24 Evelyn St, Lewisham, Greater London SE8 5, GB

      1. r
        relizabeth Mar 23, 2011 06:05 AM

        Of the Kingsland Road stretch, we are quite fond of Mien Tay. The herbs and veg seem a bit fresher than some of the other ones on that stretch.

        I have complete faith in other chowhounds ability to judge pho, but we've never found a satisfactory vegetarian dish at Song Que.

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        Mien Tay
        122 Kingsland Rd, Hackney, England N1 6, GB

        1 Reply
        1. re: emusinthezone
          r
          relizabeth Mar 24, 2011 07:28 AM

          Gah, sorry to start this silliness with a badly written sentence. I very rarely order pho because I can't finish it, and my husband is a vegetarian. If I were to go out for a pho in London, I would read up on chowhound recs. I have a high level of faith in the collective chowhound ability to find superlative food in the cities of the world. I have no knowledge in any kind of "authenticity," but am interested in yummiest food available.

          So, given those parameters, we judge London's Vietnamese restaurants on their chili and lemongrass tofu bun (CLTB) and their veggie banh cuon and occasionally on the veggie pancakes/omelets. Here is our run down:

          KINGSLAND ROAD:
          "Old" Tay dao (west side of kingsland road): Cheap and cheerful. Their CLTB can be excellent, especially after a private view and a few too many beers. But friends who dare order anything else are often disappointed.

          "new" tay dao (east side of kingsland): a bit quieter than the one across the street. But the tofu in the CLTB isn't as well fried.

          Song que: lackluster and flabby vegetarian food. We don't go there anymore.

          Mien Tay: We call it "the one with free shrimp crackers." Their cooks have a delicate touch. Their frying is crispy but not heavy. They seem to have a steady supplier of shiso which is a nice touch. Their "meat" versions tofu with chili and lemon grass bun are intriguing and bizarre. Their regular CLTB is superlative. Their tofu is both tender and chewy and crispy without being greasy. Clay pot tofu is hearty and warming. Steamed fish isn't too bad either.

          Viet Hoa: I haven't been since the remodel. Before the remodel, we called it "the healthy one" because they see to use less oil and emphasize fresh herbs. I remember a nice plate of sauted greens.

          MARE STREET:
          Green Papaya: Their smoked tofu noodles are amazing. I was convinced it was pork; my husband was convinced it was tofu. We were both happy. Banana flower salads are delicate and intriguing. Before all of the Kingsland road remodels and gussying up, this was the 'nicest' restaurant.

          TRE VIET: Nice pancake/omelets. If you are coming from Stoke Newington, it is worth walking a few more blocks to the Green papaya.

          East side of Mare St.: we've been to one or two of them. And they were remarkably unremarkable.

          OTHERS:

          Huong Viet, up on Englefield Road in Dalston, doesn't always have veggie banh cuon, but when they do, I order that. Their steamed aubergine is phenomenal. It is so squishy and unami rich. They use a lot of turmeric in their CLTB which makes it a bit yellow. Spicy Hue noodle soup is good, too; excellent if you have a cold. If you get it as take away, it is warm enough to melt the plastic lids which can cause soggy bags. We spotted Gilbert and George there once. They were together so we didn't have to guess which was which.

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          Mien Tay
          122 Kingsland Rd, Hackney, England N1 6, GB

        2. j
          JFores Mar 24, 2011 08:31 AM

          Viet Rest on Deptford High St is excellent as is West Lake. Chung Viet was a favorite of mine for years, but they recently had some problems.

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