Pho House – Highbury and Islington, London

12I love Vietnamese food. It tastes fresh and healthy but really fills a craving that makes it feel like comfort food at the same time.

The fabulous thing about London is that it is such a multicultural city that we get food from all over the globe and we get it made well, by people who are from those countries. So it is no surprise that we have some great Vietnamese restaurants in London.

My friends and I found out about Pho House about 2 years ago as it right by Highbury and Islington Station and near where we all live.

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We all ordered a sharing seafood platter with the famous Vietnamese summer rolls, some deep fried soft shell crab and some calamaris. It was all delicious and we couldn’t wait to get our mains.20160705_212715IMG_20160705_23242420160705_212821

I personally think the best thing to order here is the special beef pho (I prefer this than chicken or seafood pho in general though). I have tried the bun before but I was not as impressed – but the beef pho is excellent!!

If you like it spicy like I do, then definitely ask for some chilli oil on the side.

http://phohouse.uk/

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Salvation in Noodles – Finsbury Park

When we found out there was a new noodle bar in Finsbury Park, Renata, Emma and I just had to try it out. It was a grey day with the rain spitting down consistently and we thought what better than a large bowl of noodle soup for dinner just a short walk away from home?

I actually had never heard about the Salvation in Noodles in Dalston but the one in Finsbury Park is its new sister branch. Its got a very chilled out vibe with bar stools and benches to sit on.IMG-20150812-WA0022

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IMG-20150812-WA0023We chose a couple of starters to share – a bowl of Vietnamese dumplings and some fresh summer rolls.

The dumplings were serve hot and tasted very much like a Chinese Won Ton served in a mildly spicy sauce. As you bite into the dumpling wrap, all the flavours of the stuffing come bursting out. The Prawn and Pork Summer Rolls were refreshing and tasty. Summer rolls are always my favourite at a Vietnamese restaurant.IMG-20150812-WA0020I had a bun which is rice noodles in a salad with some grilled prawns and I mixed it all together with some chilies and fish sauce for taste. A lovely, healthy, fresh meal!

The girls stayed true to the grey and rainy weather and had bowls of hot pho – a rice noodle in broth. Most of the broths on the menu were made of ox tail – which was full of flavour, but very different froma  normal Vietnamese pho, so as to add a little twist to the dish.IMG-20150812-WA0021

IMG-20150812-WA0019We ended the meal with a Hazelnut Gelato from Hackey to share. It was lovely and not too sweet so that it didn’t ruin the meal.

Overall a very tasty and flavoursome meal. Definitely a must try on a rainy day.IMG-20150812-WA0018

http://www.salvationinnoodles.co.uk/

Bahn Mi Bay – A Vietnamese in Holborn

So, I am writing for a new food magazine called “Good Things”, which launches at the end of the year (so keep your eyes peeled for this!). We had a mini team meeting last month with just myself, Meena, Alice, and Courtney – obviously there was food and drink involved.20131016_213438We went to Bahn Mi Bay, which is a Vietnamese restaurant near Holborn and Chancery Lane. The restaurant had a very French rustic chic feel to it.

We decided on sharing a number of starters and a number of mains between us. I am a true believer of sharing dishes, maybe this comes from growing up in Indonesia and being half Chinese – we Asians love to share. It means we get to try more!

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We started with Banh Mi Thit Heo Nuong (£4.95) to share, which was the “in” thing this spring 2013 – popping up all over London from the very trendy Soho, the City for people to eat at lunch, and even in the sandwich francise EAT. The Banh Mi is a baguette that is filled with pickled carrot and mooli, sliced cucumber, coriander, fresh chilli and a choice of a main baguette filling – we chose the grilled pork. The bread was crisp of the outside and the Vietnamese flavours of BBQ meat and fish sauce on the inside went very well together.

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We obviously ordered the Summer Rolls, as it is my favourite. We tried out the Bi Cuon (£4.40), which is shredded caramel pork, rice vermicelli, lettuce and Vietnamese herbs wrapped in rice paper and served with nuoc mam (fish sauce with chili) dipping sauce. Very different from the usual prawn filling and hoi sin dipping sauce that I usually order. It had a different flavour to it and the pork very much over-powered it compared to what we were used to. I would definitely stick to the prawn summer rolls next time.

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We tried the Nem Nuong (£7), which are a grilled Vietnamese pork meat ball that is served with rice vermicelli noodles and salad and rice paper wraps for your to wrap up together yourself and dip in a peanut and hoi sin sauce. We didn’t do the wrapping, but we did eat the meatballs which tasted very much like the mediterranean kebab meatballs. Wonderfully flavoursome.

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And finally, we had Cha Gio (£4.50), a Vietnamese Sping Roll that is filled with fried pork and prawn and wrapped in a tofu based skin and there is lettuce to wrap up the roll and the nuoc mam sauce to dip. The outside was beautifully crisp and browned and the inside was soft and piping hot and again, full of flavour.

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Then the mains came. And yes, we did have pho (pronouced FUR). We had the original Bo Tai Pho (£7.50), which is the rare beef that is placed on the noodles right before the boiling hot beef broth is poured over to cook it. The broth of a pho is always my favourite bit – everyone makes theirs differently depending on what extra sauces and spices they decide to put into it. It is a great dish for the winter weather.
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And of course we had Bun (pronouced BOON) – we chose the Thit Heo Bun (£7.50), which is covered with a lovely chargrilled garlic pork. This had a wonderful taste of summer to it with the layers of salad on the bottom, then the vermicelli noodles and then the chargrilled pork on the top. You pour the chili and fish sauce mixture into the bowl and then mix it all up to make a delicious noodle salad and the chargrilled pork gives it a wonderful flavour of a summer bbq.
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The last noodle dish we got was a stir fried flat rice noodle with seasonal vegetables and chicken (£7), which is called Hu Tieu Xao and is very similar to the Chinese Ho Fun noodles.
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As Alice is more of a rice lover than a noodle lover, we also got some rice with chargrilled satay chicken – Ga Sate Nuong (£7.50). The chicken for the satay was cooked perfectly and not dry at all – which is what I worry about when I order chicken in restaurants.
The service was great and the waitress was very helpful and the food was good. I would definitely recommend for a dinner after work if you work around the area. And apparently they do great cocktails as well! Tables were filled up and it was a good atmosphere.
Watch out for the Good Things magazine!

Que Viet – Along The Great Pho Mile

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We decided to be adventurous this one evening and make some new discoveries on Kingsland Road (aka The Great Pho Mile). As I have said before, Kingsland Road is literally Vietnamese food heaven, with door after door of Vietnamese restaurants one after another.

I always go to Tay Do restaurant, just because the service is excellent, the food is great, its cheap and cheerful, and its bring your own booze (always a bonus). But, on this adventurous evening we went to Kingsland Road without a plan, except that we wanted Vietnamese and we were going to venture away from Tay Do.

So along the road we went peering into the windows and looking at the menus on all their doors, until finally we stumbled upon Que Viet. Different from Tay Do’s hustle and bustle and table sharing with strangers, Que Viet is a quaint little place. Dimmed lights, candles, lots of wooden decor. It is not a bring-your-own-booze place and its slightly more expensive than Tay Do, but still very affordable, and the atmosphere was lovely so we decided this was where we would end our search.

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We were seated and then given some prawn crackers to munch on as we chose our food and I decided on an Iced Vietnamese Coffee to sip on. Vietnamese coffee is great. Its a very strong espresso-like coffee mixed with condensed milk (£3.50).

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We decided to share a couple dishes.

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We started with Prawn Vietnamese Summer rolls (£3.80), which was very refreshing because they had a lot more salad inside them than the vermicelli, which I personally enjoy.

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Then for our mains we shared a Chicken Bun (£7.50), which is vermicelli, stir fried chicken, salad, which you then mix together with a fish sauce. It is a very refreshing noodle salad. The one minor detail is that they served this on a plate, whereas I prefer to eat this in a big bowl.

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We also ordered a Beef Pho (£7.50), which is a noodle soup cooked with an amazing beef broth, some fresh thinly slice beef, and some flat white rice noodles. This was delicious. Unfortunately they did not have as many choices of Pho as Tay Do, but what we did have was absolutely perfect. It definitely warmed our tummies before we headed back out into the windy weather.

A great night for a sophisticated Pho Mile experience and may I add, the service was terrific!

http://www.quevietrestaurant.co.uk/