Sunday, 14 December 2008

Mien Tay

I think it would be fair to say that there are no bad Vietnamese restaurants on Kingsland Road. I mean it would be pointless and suicidal for any of the Vietnamese proprietors not to comply with or better the standards of the other restaurants along this ‘Pho Mile’ (you heard it here first!) in Hackney.

Miền Tây means west in Vietnamese. This newcomer is only six months old and is
already gaining a decent reputation with the help from favourable reviews found in newspapers and food blogs alike. Most of the restaurants on this road are known or should be referred as cafes, simply because the utilitarian décor of the dining rooms is the least of their priorities. Likewise at Mien Tay, it’s quite obvious that one comes here for the food and not ponder on what David Collins might have done with the interior instead. The service at Vietnamese restaurants is generally more accommodating and respectful than your average Chinese restaurant. Thankfully the lovely and ever smiling service at Mien Tay confirmed this.

We ordered three starters and two noodle dishes.

The Goi Cuon (Summer Roll) tasted fresh enough but not ultimately as tasty as the found at Song Que a few blocks down. The dipping sauce was too tamed and lacked kick.

Chim Cut Nuong (Chargrilled Quail with Honey and Garlic)- this dish alone has already attained legendary status courtesy of the Metro newspaper. Yes it was pretty delicious but nowhere as good as the ones found at Loong Kee or the Viet Grill.
Nem Nuong (Chargrilled Pork Balls [more like patties] with Honey and Spices)- this indeed was one of the highlights at Mien Tay, they tasted home-made and utterly fantastic.

Pho Tai & Tai Nam (with sliced medium-cooked beef and brisket)- to gauge the authenticity of any Vietnamese restaurants, a beefy pho is more than a good enough litmus test. It passed but without flying colours, this accolade belongs to Loong Kee; the stock was a tad too tempered in order to be classed as beefy but the amount of meat that was included with this dish was huge. I’ve patronised at all the joints on Pho Mile but the generosity with the beef at Mien Tay remains unprecedented.
Bun Thit Nuong (Grilled Pork with Vermicelli)- this was the second highlight of the night, the grilled pork was wonderfully aromatic and beautifully seasoned. The balance of the ingredients for this dish was perfectly executed and concocted. This fantastic tasting dish alone is worth coming back to Mien Tay for.

Mien Tay is another wonderful addition to Vietnamtown in East London. I can’t wait to try out the rest of the menu.

No receipt, but the bill came to £27.50 for the food and two thirst quenching glasses of home made limeade.


Steven Vu said...

Hi Bella,

I stole a picture from your site and used it here:

I hope you don't mind. I you do, just give me a shout and I'll take it down.

You seem to know the Vietnamese food around the area quite well. Any hints to where I can find the best Vietnamese baguette?

bellaphon said...

Steve- Hi, feel free and thanks for stopping. I've had most of the banh mis in London and they all tasted approximate and of the 'bandwagon' phenomenon. The baguettes lack the vital rice flour texture, personally I would just make my own buying the bread from Paul, and fill it with gio lua, loads of coriander and red chilli peppers plus lest I forget, unsalted butter. You can't beat that!

PlumLeaf 李葉 said...

Have read reviews on Mien Tay and seeing as we won't be frequenting my hubbs usual Vietnamese restaurant (he was miffed when they neglected to take his order and no appology - that plus the extortionate price hike), we thought we'd give Mien Tay a try. Well, my hubbs fave dish is Bun Thit Nuong buut the portions here are rather small. Hubbs is not especially a fast eater yet polished this off in 5mins and was still hungry. Bun Thit Nuong used to be a tasty and filling lunch option as well as reasonably priced. Now we struggle to find a decent bowl of bun.

Anonymous said...

Steven Vu, on the off-chance you stop by here again, i can categorically say that the best vietnamese baguette you'll find in the UK is at city caphe, Ironmonger lane, EC2V. i can't help going weekly.

pho is also good.

check it out bellaphon, you won't be disappointed.

Anonymous said...

After eating a very satisfying main course at Mein Tay, I asked our efficient (if somewhat terse) Vietnamese waitress if we could see the dessert menu. She replied "We do rubbish desserts, you should leave!" 10/10 for honesty, perhaps need to hone those upselling skills!

Anonymous said...

I had the misfortune of being taken to eat here on a date. I declined to eat the awful food, promptly burst into tears and I declared that was the worst place I have ever eaten at.

The bloke was nice enough and he understood..