Thursday, April 06, 2006

Song Que Vietnamese Restaurant

134 Kingsland Rd

A whole bunch of work colleagues and I went to dinner at this wonderful Vietnamese restaurant last night. This place serves a great pho, but because this was a group of 10, we ordered more Chinese style dishes to share. However, we did get some of my favourite Vietnamese treats for starting with.

I love Vietnamese food and its use of fresh herbs. It's so distinctive and difficult to do in London. I recently discovered that South East Asian herbs and vegetables are air-freighted once or twice a week from Thailand and surrounds. Outside a grocery store in Chinatown I saw masses of big white styrofoam boxes with labels from Thai airways containing bitter gourd, pea-eggplant and numerous other greens. Song Que does the whole gamut of traditional Vietnamese food with authentic herbs (as well as supply will allow it) and it pulls it off very well. We did notice that they stinge on the herbs and beansprouts if a non-Vietnamese is ordering. I guess these are the most expensive part of the meal and unless you appreciate it, most people might see it as some sort of garnish.

And at £5 for a bowl of pho, you can't really beat that.

Our meal cost £14 a head including beer and wine. Service is quick and efficient but gruff in the usual way - you're here for the food.

Summer Roll
rice noodles, herbs and pork or prawn wrapped in rice-paper with a dipping sauce of chilli, sweet-bean and ground peanuts

Barbequed beef wrapped in betel leaf
served with lettuce, mint, shiso (large purple serrated leaves), pickled carrots and radish and rice vermicelli. Vietnamese chilli dipping sauce

Chicken with chilli and lemongrass
yellow coloured slices of chicken with large chunks of chilli

Shredded crispy beef in sweet and sour sauce
thin strands of deep-fried beef in orange sauce with tomatoes

Singapore noodles
rice vermicelli with shrimps, shredded barbequed pork, beansprouts, onions and light curry seasoning.

Lamb with ginger and spring onion

Freshwater bream with crystal noodles
whole fish with black bean sauce served on mung bean thread noodles (served on a big square plate)

Duck with pineapple
boneless duck pieces in a sweet and sour sauce with pineapple

Tofu, pepper and aubergine stuffed with prawn paste

Pork with shrimp paste
served with cucumber, chilli and other vegetables

Stir fried ong-choy with garlic


ingrid leung said...

hello came across your blog recently, enjoyed reading it a lot! i live in england too and am missing vietnamese food a lot.

re the restaurant you mentioned in this post, would you know which is the closest tube station to it? and sorry but since i've been desparately looking for a vietnamese restaurant in england/london which does this dish (well) - would you remember whether they serve grilled lemon grass chicken fillet (not stir fried but grilled)?

many thanks!

David said...

Hi Ingrid, the nearest tube station is Old St (Northern Line) but a bus from Liverpool St Station (Central, District and Circle, etc) or Monument (District and Circle) will get you there with the least amount of walking. If you type the address into it will give you the quickest way there.

I don't recall seeing grilled lemongrass chicken fillet (I remember this too!) but I may have missed it in the comprenhensive menu (<70 items).

ingrid leung said...

hi david many thanks for this!

Pete said...

I went to this restaurant last summer with friends. It is fantastic. I shall be in UK again next month, and I daresay shall go there again. It is better than many restaurants in Vietnam - and authentic Halida beer too!