Har Gau


Monday, 8 December 2008

Viet, 34 Greek Street, Soho, London W1D 5DJ

I've been to Viet once previously, the first time I had Vietnamese food in London town. Yesterday, I went to Viet again, and the experience both times differed vastly.

Mainly because the first time we were there, we had a waitress who hated plates, bowls, and customers.

She also hated taking customers orders, and I don't mean in the 'Hey, gimme some water' kind of way. I mean in the 'Could I please have number 24 please' kind of way. She scowled, she took the order (while we were quaking in our boots) and when the food was ready, she threw the bowls and plates (cowboy-bartender style) at us.

This time around, that waitress wasn't at the restaurant when we were there. The exhiliration of having the freedom to order was overwhelming. I felt like thumping the table with excitement when the menu was handed over, and beamed at the waitress (very lovely) who came to take our orders.

I won't say more about the service, except for the fact that this time we were there, the waitress was fabulous, always attentive and very quick in bringing whatever we requested.

This restaurant is quite small, located at the edge of Chinatown and Soho, and fits about 7 tables. This means that if you get there about dinner time, you'll most probably have to queue for a table. You'll also most probably be queueing outside in the cold due to the lack of space in the restaurant.

The menu is about 5 A4 pages long, and this restaurant serves both Vietnames and Thai food. Portions are generous, prices are lower than most restaurants in Chinatown.

We started off with the fish crackers (£1.50) and it came in a big basket, full of fishy, crunchy crackers. These little crackly things are lovely when dipped in sauce, when they get slightly chewy.

I ordered the number 26, which is the spicy pho with beef and Vietnamese sausage. The garnishing for this dish arrived with the fish crackers, and I asked the same question I ask each time this garnish is served.

What is that green leaf, and is it meant to be eaten with the pho?

This is the spicy pho (bun bo hue?). When it arrived, I thought that they had given me the wrong dish, as it didn't look very spicy at all. It seems you have to stir the soup to mix it with the spoonful of spice in the middle of the bowl, after which, my nose wouldn't stop sweating from the heat of the spice. The soup was very beefy and full of meaty goodness, evidently the stock had been boiled for quite a while in order for the soup to achieve that much beefy-ness. The beef slices that came with it were much more tender than the ones in other restaurants, and the Vietnamese sausage was deliciously chewy and tasty. Each slurp of the noodle and soup was consistenly delicious, from the first to the last bite and I wished I had more.
The 2 tables next to us kept pointing at our food, and after much debate, finally asked us what it was that we were having.

This is number 22, bun cha which is grilled beef served with vermicelli. The meat was tasty and tender, marinated with just enough fish sauce, and when the nuoc cham was poured over the noodles, that just completed the dish.

On the whole, the bun bo hue in Viet is better than the one in Cafe East, and very enjoyable. The bun cha, however, was slightly less impressive than the one at Viet Grill but better than the one at Cafe East.

Viet on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

Cant commend much but just envious of yr meals, cos the first n only time my wife and I went there, we share a small bowl of noodles together. so small cant remember the taste..sob. hahaha

Anonymous said...

Hello monchichi,

Unless it is a different type of "leaves", what comes with the bean sprout ought to be Thai basil. I myself seldom use it as I find its flavour too strong compared to the subtle taste of pho. But, of course, you mileage my vary...

Oh, I love your pictures! I am still learning how to use my gear and can't help myself to ask what settings did you use to take them!


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