Tuesday, 28 April 2009
Cafe East (version 2.0), Surrey Quays Leisure Park
If you’re interested in reading the review of Cafe East prior to the upgrade to version 2.0, click here.
To give a brief summary of Cafe East version 1.0 and 2.0:
Version 1.0 – Approximately 8 tables, 3 staff, large portions of food, and a toilet that gave you an authentic experience of a Vietnamese side-alleyway
Version 2.0 – Located in an ex-pub, approximately 20 or more tables, many waiting staff, and beautifully presented food (with a small price increase)
The previous Cafe East opened for lunch from 12 to 2pm, so there was often a rush to get there, with many visits consisting of us looking in from outside a closed restaurant, hungry. The new Cafe East seems to have extended to normal opening hours, presumably because it is located on a leisure park, alongside chain restaurants and a cinema.
The menu is pretty much unchanged, although looking slightly brighter than in the previous place. Prices have gone up by 30p or so, depending on the dish, but hey, if this keeps the toilet looking that clean, it’s worth it.
I ordered this as it looked like grass jelly from the picture on the menu, but it resembled another dessert that I like, so it was all OK.
Goi cuon £4.50 (Summer rolls)
The portion sizes here are still generous, and if you’re not looking to spend much here, a main dish alone should be sufficiently filling. This is one of our favourite dishes though, so we just had to order one to share. The prawns were fresh, and the rolls were filled with pork, noodles and prawn, bril for dipping in the sauce accompanying the dish.
Fresh beansprouts for the noodles, still don’t like the green stuff though (basil?)
Bun bo hue £6.50 (Vermicelli rice noodle, spicy soup, beef brisket, lemon grass, chicken and prawn)
Most of the time when I order this here, the waiter or waitress will repeat ‘Spicy?’ after I’ve placed my order. Maybe they’ve been asked to ensure we know it’s spicy, maybe people order this and then express surprise that it’s spicy?
The soup is spicy, and full of beefy-flavour. I asked for the toppings to be a mixture of prawn and chicken, and they were certainly generous when giving out the four large, very fresh prawns with the noodle. Tasty soup, huge portions, I like this.
Bun bo xao £7 (Vermicelli rice noodle with stir-fried beef)
We really liked this dish at the previous Cafe East, so it was a must-try at the new place. Glad to say that the standard has remained, perhaps even slightly improved due to the better presentation they have here. The portion size for this dish has increased, or maybe it’s the size of the plate but whatever the case, it’s enough for one hungry person. Filling, tasty, and reasonably priced.
I didn’t draw that arrow, but we took this pic as it seems to be the last souvenir from the pub that was not removed when Cafe East moved in.
Would I return to this place? Most certainly so, really like it.
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