Thursday, 28 May 2009

Café East

Bi Cuon
Like summer rolls, except that the prawns have been given a day off. In its place, shredded pork meat and skin, and baked rice are filled instead. Porky flavour, but still needed tons of nuoc cham (fish sauce dipper) to make it worthwhile.

Pho Tai
Luscious raw slices of beef fulfilled but broth is still too mild mannered.
Hung Viet and Que Viet are still the benchmarks.

Pho Kho Dac Biet Cay
Dry ho fun noodles with beef, pork, chicken, prawns and the rest of the animal kingdom in one bowl.
It was rather good.


For reviews that are more comprehensive, concise, fun to read and by enlarge free of grammatical errors please go to the following reviews- Lizzie, Helen and Little Miss Random. Ladies thank you for your foodie acumen on this place, I'm grateful that I made it. It was good but there are buts, not bad buts mind you, but buts nonetheless.

Ok the two stooges (aka me and henchboy KC) finally made it here, it was embarrassingly easy to find in the end.
KC, get that bloody BMW satnav sorted please!

Those two girls, aren’t they sweet? I’m sure they also thought I was a right pillock snapping at the dishes thereafter!

The place was obviously conceived as a pub, but a blessing for Cafe East to have secured the premises. I like the bright and airy dining room and compared to most of the other joints on
The Pho Mile, this place looks positively clean. For the train spotters of designer furniture, you’ll notice that the costly Scandinavian chairs and tables are at odds with the utilitarian canteen style interiors. The service we found to be incredibly friendly, goes without saying again as with all Vietnamese restaurants- cocky college yoofs at your service. One thing that's worth mentioning is that this is quite clearly a pure Vietnamese restaurant, the short and concise illustrated menu was devoid of Crispy Aromatic Duck or Singapore Fried Vermicelli. Unprecedented in my humblest.

Sam Bo Lung (Chinese Herbal Tea) and Iced Coffee (cà phê sữa đá)
The former seemed popular with the Oriental diners, the Boy said it was refreshing but somewhat acquired in taste. My coffee was excellent.

Cha Hue (Chả lụa)
Deep fried Vietnamese meatloaf or sausage. Like Chinese fishcakes or fishballs, this item is not made in house but bought in. It's nigh on impossible to fluff this dish unless the kitchen is manned by meerkats. Yummy.

Banh Cuon (Bánh cuốn)

Here we are with the first of the 'buts'; it was good but not a patch on the one served at Loong Kee Café. The savoury meat filling inside these steamed rolls was lacking depth and the crucial ingredient of cloud ear fungus. It was very nearly bland but saved by the umami overload of steamed cha hue (see above) that came with the dish.

Goi Cuon(gỏi cuốn)
No complaints with the Summer Rolls. One of the best I've eaten.
Don't gorge too much on this dish, as it's incredibly filling due to the vermicelli filling, it might suppress the appetite!

Pho Tai (phở tái lăn)

The second but. Yes it was commendable and the generous amount of rare beef slices thrown in were great. But the soup/stock was too delicate and light for my palate. For a more intense kick (more beefy and slightly spicier) one needs to visit Loong Kee Café again or my current absolute reference that's found at That Vietnamese Place (post coming up soon).

Sticky Vietnamese Rice Pudding (xôi ngọt)

Sickly sweet and extremely stodgy glutinous rice pudding concocted with black-eyed beans (urad to be precise) drowned in coconut cream. I found this strange tasting dish wonderful, undoubtedly not for everyone but the highlight of the evening for me. Love it.

One site (a pioneering blogger) described The Pho Mile as serving 'diluted substitutes' compared to Café East, well hell; pants on fire I would say! I bellaPHOn, have been to at least 95% 91% (bets anyone?) of all the Vietnamese restaurants in London, I should bloody well know what I'm harping on about! Anyway (sweeping my hair to one side), Café East is still very good and I do intend to come back, I would love to try out the their curry and meat ragu with baguette. Recommended.

100 Redriff Road
London, SE16 7LH


Botched first attempt
(on my behalf that is, or not)

Once a upon a time there was a rumour about a Vietnamese joint somewhere in South East London that puts all the other other ones on
The Pho Mile to shame. Dutifully I went in search for it.

With my mate KC and his fast car plus a sat nav of some description...

...going around in circles...

...and again...

...I'm getting dizzy...

...we gave up at this stage and it was also when I succumbed to a packet of fags (£5.92!!!).

Café East, where flipping art thou?

I shall keep you posted when I decide to go to Surrey Quays by the epic means of four bus changes from Marble Arch. Patience, Sybil, patience.

NB Two thick guys and a German made sat nav make a perfect tragicomedy. Oh well best get on with the puffing.


Hollow Legs said...

Oooh - Helen and I ate here tonight! It was lovely. A bus from London Bridge dropped us off right outside. Post coming shortly...

bellaphon said...

Blistering heart just sank even further.

Charmaine said...

Perhaps you were looking for the old location? It's just at the south-eastern tip of the Surrey Quays Leisure Centre. Near the lovely bingo. :-)

thora said...

I'm shocked! Back to smoking? (I'm secretly longing for cigarettes now and then and know exactly how you feel.)

bellaphon said...

Charmaine- Nice of you to stop by. No I had the new address, just a case of blokes can't multi task and whenever I do venture across the river all luck runs out. Did I mention Franco Manca?

Thora- If you ever need a light in London I'm your man :D

Unknown said...

I went there a few weeks back... my friend went by SatNav and we didn't have any issues! Post coming fairly shortly too. :)

bellaphon said...

LMR- Looking forward to it :)

Helen said...

Noooo! You should have joined us

Unknown said...

Okay, it's up! Here you go!

bellaphon said...

Helen- Another time, another place; inevitable.

LMR- Ta.

Unknown said...

You made it! Woo!

Hollow Legs said...

Ah ha! You finally made it. Glad you liked it, despite the buts. I've not visited Vietnam or any of the Vietnamese places on the Pho Mile so it's hard to compare.

superpho said...

you should try mama pho

bellaphon said...

superpho- yowsers and thanks for the reminder. I've only been to MP once, it was very good but I need to go there again before I can post my tuppence worth about it.

Unknown said...

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ĐT : 0908.765.641 ( Ms. Minh )
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