Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Hung Việt (That Vietnamese Place)

Within six months and a total re-branding. Rest assured that it’s still under the same management and the excellent food is thus maintained.

‘I Vietnamese and you no Vietnamese, I know what I talk about. I can eat what you eat now because it is very Vietnamese. It is real thing. Good?’ Proclaimed and asked by the laddish waiter. We were accosted whilst slurping the Pho (bibs essential, hi Helen!) and yes it was good.

I’ve delayed the posting of the review on That Vietnamese Place until now. This was due to the fact that before I start to the preach the usual ‘life changing hokum’ on the meal here, I needed to see for myself how good Café East was (a Holy Grail of phoshacks as per prescribed all over the blogosphere).

TVP is the latest addition to The Pho Mile. It’s barely five months old and strategically placed between the old stalwart of Loong Kee Café and Time Out’s fave, Song Que. Strategic because when one is put off by the queue at the latter, you move on. The usual things with the interiors are in evidence (applicable to most of the Vietnamese restaurants in this area)- souvenir type prints of Vietnamese life on the walls, hard seats, and the usual lack of luxury. The service can be described as when you initiate a faint bit of praise the staff starts to reciprocate appropriately.

Tap water is not free!

Iced coffee and homemade lemonade

Mixed Vietnamese pizza pancake

To all intents and purposes, an omelette I stand corrected by Meemalee; and an absolutely magnificent one as well. I thought the one at Song Que was the all-defining one but here at TVP, it surpassed it. Don’t forget to order this dish when you’re here.

Char-grilled Quails

2½ birds portion (a common practice in Vietnamese joints). Beautifully marinated and properly cooked. Oh don’t use a knife and fork with this dish, fingers are there for a reason.

The all-important garnishes that come with your noodle soups.
If a restaurant omits on this, then it's an impostor purporting to sell the real thing.

Phở Bò
With rare beef slices. Hyperboles aside, this was better than the one than I had at Café East. Although a pleb’s dish, I’m sure that the Queen wouldn’t irk at it. An oriental consommé so good one shouldn’t offload to the corgies. Exceptional.

Bún bò Huế
Spicy beef vermicelli soup. Despite the reddish hue, don’t despair it’s not that spicy. (Vietnamese vermicelli is thicker than the Chinese variety) Megalicious.

Fair to say that I’m no Vietnamese but it’s also fair to say that the meal I had here was authentic enough. One of the best Vietnamese in town, you’ll love it.

134a Kingsland Road

London E2 8DY


meemalee said...

Looking at your receipt, do they not use the Vietnamese names at all? Bánh xèo is a much better name than "pizza pancake" - especially when you realise xeo is just the noise it makes when it hits the frying pan :)

I'm outraged at the charging for tap water - however, you've made it sound so good I'll end up going anyway!

By the way, wot a silly name for a restaurant - makes me miss That Turkish Place in New Cross :-P

bellaphon said...

MML- Actually you're right, it is Bánh xèo after all! I have been erroneous about the omelette tag. Thank you.

NB Don't forget That Turkish Place in Lewisham!

Kavey said...

Mmmm, another helpful review, thanks. Making me salivate. Sooo many places I want to visit!

Siri said...

Bellaphon, I need to enlist your expertise, if you would be so kind! I'm coming down from Cambridge after work to have dinner with a few friends in London, and we need recommendations for a nice place with lovely food not too far from King's Cross (if that is at all possible). Nothing too expensive, we're all underpaid, of course! Any cuisine is acceptable, we're Norwegians after all. :)

bellaphon said...

Kavey- Thank you. Us Londoners, we are blessed lot ;)

Siri- Whereas King's Cross ain't exactly blessed with affordable and decent eateries. Try these-

For a home (yours that is) from home evening you could try Nordic Bar. I found it different.

For an excellent £18 set dinner + booze + service you can't beat Galvin Bistrot de Luxe. Oh 6-7pm turnout only and reservations essential.

Lastly you can't beat the Indian vegetarian restaurants like Chutney's or Diwana Bhel Poori House on Drummond Street.

All three suggestions are a shortish bus ride to and from King's Cross. Enjoy.

Helen said...

Seriously, I've used stain remover on that top three times now and the bloomin' stain is still there! Lethal stuff. I have a verylimited experience of Vietnamese restaurants in London though, which is something I really need to rectify but where to go next?

Unknown said...

Hey there - was it you who left the comment about Mama Pho on my blog? My friends and I will be in Shoreditch on Sunday. Which place do you rate more: Loong Kee or That Vietnamese Place?

Siri said...

Thank you so much! Nordic Bar sounds interesting, and apparently you get a main dish for £4.50... The recession, it bites.

bellaphon said...

Helen- If it helps, a great-aunt of mine used to carry a phial of ultrafine cornflour to counter such eating mishaps.

LMR- That comment looks suspiciously from Mama Pho themselves. Loong Kee is very good but the service might prove otherwise!

Siri- Do let us know how you get on at NB.