If you’re going to try Vietnamese cuisine for the first time in London then you can’t do much wrong here. I simply cannot imagine how anyone can hate this place with a vengeance, well if they do then it’s certainly nothing to do with the food but the service! Hell, this place is the most popular Viet joint in London and during peak times and off’ for that matter, you simply have to queue and be patient. If and when you do get a table, more often than not that means sharing with someone else, just persevere and don’t sigh needlessly- remember you’re not coming here for a romantic interlude! Enjoy the wonderful food, drink a couple of beers, pay your meal, leave the small talk till a little later, make way for those hungry diners waiting outside and reward yourselves by ending the evening at the gay pub in Shoreditch that’s the George & Dragon (a truly joyous place and no, I’m not gay).
The service here is what we might expect of Kingsland Road, it’s a lottery! Often misinterpreted as condescending, the waiting staff at Sông Quê can’t help it, the place is busy and if you wish to get pampered then best be off, and oh there’s also the long long menu. That long long menu has amongst the Vietnamese stuff a load more Chinese dishes. Why do people come here and order things like Crispy Aromatic Duck, Chicken and Sweetcorn swamp, Lemon Chicken (why, why!), Sweet and Sour drivel, etc. Please don’t be undeserving to me or least yourselves, tis’ a Vietnamese restaurant so order as common sense prevails, appropriately!
I’ve been here countless times, but it’s not my fave as both Hung Việt and Que Viet are vastly superior. The pho here is as it good as it gets, alas the servings are not the most generous but what this place is good for is the Bánh xèo, Vietnamese ‘take no prisoners’ savoury crêpe. And I would like to add that the house red tasted like diluted Ribena with rice vinegar thrown in, hangover guaranteed. Repetitious I may sound, stick to tea (Sybil, beer is below me).
Came here last November with her (look if you want to be my dining chum then give us a shout, I promise that I don’t bite but I’m just wearily black and white, I hate bullshit!). What we had-
Vegetarian Noodles- She liked it, but I thought it needed some pig’s liver and something of the dark to make it more consuming.
Bún chả giò (Bun Cha Gio)- Herby/salady cold vermicelli dish served with warm veggie spring rolls. A one dish meal and bloody good it was too.
Afters- Thing on the left is made with beans, condensed milk or was it coconut, syrup upon syrup and grass jelly. Thing on right is the illustrious Cà phê sữa đá(Cafe sua da)- superior iced Vietnamese coffee sweetened with condensed milk.
Sông Quê Café is established and I’m surprised that it hasn’t expanded and nor does it need the help of PR dorks to map it like Miền Tây or Viet Grill. It’s worth a pilgrimage, enjoy.
134 Kingsland Road
London E2 8DY