Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Quê Việt redux

A second posting of the same place can only imply a positive note. Following the abysmal evening at Viet Grill, the latest dinner at Quê Việt was all-redeeming and a revelation.

BYO, but not for long…as all the Vietnamese joints on the Pho Mile are either renewing or applying for their booze licenses, now’s your chance to show off your Alsace Gewürztraminer, Côte de Beaunes or Tennent's Super without the dodgy and hefty mark-ups.

5 quid corkage for a bottle of wine is ‘fair dos’ but a quid for a can of amber nectar reflects Quê Việt’s policy in maintaining the practice that spells 'rip-off Britain'.

Came here with a vegetarian Dining Companion. And like all occidentals faced with a daunting menu in an ethnic restaurant, a platter of everything thrown in was enough to make her go weak at the knees.

The order of this vegetarian platter (rather huge I might add) was enforced with the usual rule of large starters of the ilk; a minimum of two or more peeps sharing. DC or Mme Gobbler scoffed the entire contents and declared the starter (or her entire meal methinks) totally scrumptious. However I did try a piece of battered aubergine, it was delightfully moreish and suggested that I shouldn’t needlessly poke further fun at veggies in time to come.

This review is down to the two outstanding dishes I had at Quê Việt. I began with Dê Hấp (steamed goat served rare). I suppose the best way to describe how this dish is prepared is to quote the following-

''There are various dishes made with goat meat such as stir-fried goat meat, steamed goat meat, grilled goat brisket, goat hotpot, rare goat meat mixed with lemon. Each of them has its own unforgettable taste but among those dishes rare-goat meat in Hoa Lu is considered is the most delicious one. The process of cooking this dish is quite complex and requires experience. Because goat meat usually has strong and weird smell, therefore, makers must get rid of that smell before cooking. Goat meat is washed carefully and cut into thin slices, then marinated with holy basil leaves and duckweed leaves for about ten minutes. After that, goat meat is dipped in hot water until rare and then mixed with various spices and additives such as ginger, chilly, lemon juice, citronella and roasted sesame seeds.''


Like the Chinese, the Vietnamese have all sorts of advantageous excuses to eat certain foods. By eating goats, they say, one’s likely to curtail the following- anaemia, thinning hair, anti-dizziness, headaches, infatuations with Theresa May, back pains, etc.

Absolutely sublime, the herby lime sauce was perfect with the fragrant and tender meat. This dish also dispels the myth about goat meat being ‘strong’ and tough. And despite the above claims I was and am still very much in awe of T May.

DC’s unexciting looking veggie vermicelli bowl, after the starter binge, she opted to take it away instead.

Thịt bò lúc lắc- ‘shaking beef’.
Quê Việt’s most popular dish and thus their signature. The shaking description does not mean that one’s indulging in a sadomasochistic-culinary experience like devouring morsels of meat off a live cow…it simply describes the method of cooking! Marinated cubes of sirloin steak are frantically tossed and shaken from side to side in a wok to preserve the melt-in-the mouth consistency.

Once the dish arrives on the table, you’re encouraged to perform another ceremony, mix the beef well with the warm salad and tangy sauce (a mix of limejuice, rice wine, fish sauce, sugar, salt and pepper identified) until everything looks diametrically deconstructed or a plain bloody mess. Spoon it over a bowl of plain white rice, you’ll be on cloud nine thrice over. One of the best beef dishes I’ve had in London and most certainly on par with the high-end steaks at Goodman or Hawksmoor!

The reviews of Quê Việt at London Eating may seem alarming but my experiences here suggest otherwise. However I must admit that one of the managers here recognised me as bellaphonic and offered to ‘help’ with the bill, but I don’t do freebies (with exception of). That said, Quê Việt is nonetheless remarkable and it comes highly recommended…just make sure that you order the goat and wag beef.

My first review of Quê Việt here

102-104 Kingsland Road
London E2 8DP


Mr Noodles said...

This place has been on my list forever, and I'm kinda gutted that we ended up at Viet Grill rather than here. Oh well!

The beef in particular looks truly amazing...

Unknown said...

Steamed goat...interesting. Coming round to steaming meat through getting into Szechuan food. Will have to check it out for my weekly treat lunch..