Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Bánhmì 11

Last weekend I took an extended lunch break from work. The journey time to and from Broadway Market was two hours ten minutes (I work in W1) and the queuing for lunch was an additional ten minutes but the actual scoffing of a whole sandwich took less than five minutes. I would like to think that food-lovers like myself are a committed lot and equally nutty.

I wrote briefly once before about Bánhmì 11 here so this second post is more of proper acknowledgement in praise of the outfit.

Bánhmì11’s stall can be found at Broadway Market on Saturdays or Chatsworth Road Market on Sundays. But as for the former, expect to queue patiently for the grub as it’s easily the most popular food stall there. And for those who’ve been away up in the mountains for yonks, Bánhmì11 specialises in the iconic Vietnamese sandwich that’s bánh mì.

Most of the meats are essentially barbecued and cooked on site to maintain the quality and enhancement of the fillings.

All the sandwiches on offer are technically bánh mì đặc biệt or bánh mì combos. And as of October 2011, the menu is as follows-

''Quad Meat Special: Pate, BBQ Pork, Roast Pork, Pork Ham in Banana Leaf, Chicken Ham

Fish Q: Grilled Turmeric Catfish, tossed with Dill and Spring Onion

BBQ Squared: Imperial BBQ Pork and Pork Meatballs with Roasted Rice Flavour

Cha Cha Chicken: Grilled Chicken Breast in Coconut and Lemongrass Marinade

Op La Di Beef: Sirloin Steak in Home-Made BBQ Sauce

Tofu Mushroom: Crumbled Tofu with a Trio of Mushroom, Carrot, and Rice Vermicelli''

Each and every sandwich is hand-constructed to order. On a more personal note, it was nice to see an alumna of St Anne’s making mine.

The bánh mì.
The bread was gorgeous. The thinness of its crust (quite unlike regular baguettes) is unlikely to encourage any kind of trauma to the mouth. The bread proper was delightfully airy and soft. If the Aussies and Kiwis can displace the Italians with their superior flatties then I can’t see why the Vietnamese shouldn’t do the same with the humble baguette!

NB I know of a lot people who despise coriander but that’s too bad so curb all the‘soapy dissents’ as the venerable herb is part and parcel of any bánh mì!

The Fish Q
Despite the menu suggesting the fish was grilled it was in fact pan-fried, and done so to order. When munched, any decent bánh mì should explode with extraordinary flavours and tingle the taste buds like no other sandwiches! The Fish Q ticked all the right boxes. The fish itself was excellent, flaky,
beautifully marinated and perfectly seasoned (but it was also best to ignore the fact about the fish being previously frozen and imported from more than 6K miles away). It was the priciest sandwich on offer but well worth it.

I couldn’t resist myself and succumbed to a second sandwich- The Quad Meat Special.

This was what lurked inside the Quad. I had mine extra spicy with squirts and squirts of Sriracha. As a whole, this combo was stunning but let down slightly by the rather tough and chewy char siu BBQ pork. But heck, it was still bloody amazing and I fully understood why the Quad is Bánhmì11's most popular offering!

The baguette sarnies at Bánhmì11 are so well conceived and executed they simply leave this lot lagging behind. Burgers aside and regardless of ethnicity, Bánhmì11 is responsible for some of the best sandwiches in London! In their words- ‘Bánhmì11....I am coming to eat you!’

Highly recommended.

I paid £5 for the Fish Q and £4.50 for the Quad Meat Special.
I shall not respond to any comments concerning the championing of egg and cress sandwiches.

Broadway Market
London E8 4HP


Mr Noodles said...

These guys sometimes have a stall round the back of Kings Cross/St Pancras on Thursdays and Fridays.

bellaphon said...

Noods- And so it seems, a PR dork just emailed about it.

I heart cupcakes said...

I've not tried their Banh Mi but I love Panda Panda in Deptford's version. Once I'm back working near Broadway at weekends I shall check it out.
Did you Yum Bun yet?

bellaphon said...

Hi IHC, yes I've been to Panda Panda once; seriously cheap but great food. That said, I must get my arse off to SE8 more often. And thanks for the Yum Bun tip-off, very interesting indeed.

Anonymous said...

i urge you to try the banh mi at city caphe - ironmonger lane, ec2v. i think they're right up there.

Dad said...

Well, you had me at the "unlikely to encourage any kind of trauma to the mouth" bit. I HATE when that happens, and that sarnie looks delicious!!

But, BUT, coriander MAY be part and parcel of any bánh mì, but they could at LEAST strip the bloody leaves from it's stem???

You may not suffer trauma of the gums but you could take an eye out with that!!


Ally Smith said...

Banh Mi 11 is awesome - I live round the corner and always head up to Broadway on Saturday planning on branching out - maybe one of the vegetarian curries I say - nope, always a Quad Meat. You just can't beat it!

For anyone visiting - make sure you go to Banh Mi 11 rather than Cafe Viet (which is half way up the market) which is nowhere near as good.


bellaphon said...

Anon- I know, I know, as Steven has already nagged me about it. Thank you nonetheless.

Dad- From personal experiences:
Granary bread means goodbye fillings and toasted ciabatta means well hello...bleeding gums! As for coriander stems, I could eat them all day long *smirk*

Dinnerathon- Quad affirmation, thank you.

Kay @ Chopstix2Steaknives said...

I had the quad Banh Mi a few weekends ago and I love the texture of the baguette but thought that it was slightly let down with not enough of freshness of the herbs and vegetables shining through.