Thursday, 15 October 2009
Viet Grill (forth review), 58 Kingsland Road, E2 8DP
This is the most reviewed restaurant on the blog. I don’t know why I bother writing about the same place again and again, especially since we order the same thing everytime. Anyway, if you’ve not read it before, well done. If you have, enjoy it again?
Note: This restaurant is very dimly-lit, which explains the ‘got dressed in the dark’ look of the pictures.
Reflection of the economic times?
There were four of us at dinner, and we were all very hungry. Cue, menu, ordering, and lots of food (what did you expect). We went there on a Monday, and we were expecting it to be a quiet dinner at the restaurant, but it was surprisingly busy, almost completely full and this was a weekday evening. We were there with 2 friends who’d not had much Vietnamese food before, so lots of showing off was to be done.
By now, I know the menu so well that when I read it, I’m only looking at what font it is, what colour the paper is, and if they’ve put the price up. Good to know that it looks mostly Arial, the paper is cream coloured, and the prices have remained the same. Well done.
Goi cuon (Fresh soft summer rolls filled with king prawn, herbs and salad wrapped in rice paper) £3.50
First starter to come, the summer roll. Lovely prawns right by the wrapper (so you know it’s there), with vermicelli and fresh vegetables acting as the backing singers, all singing one beautiful melody of fresh bursts of flavour in the mouth. Despite it not tasting of much (which is how it’s supposed to be, and not a criticism in any way), I keep ordering this dish because it gives just the right texture and freshness to start off the meal with.
Các món rang muoi (Chilli salt and pepper squid) £7
Next to come was the deep fried squid, one of our favourites. What makes this dish stand out from the other versions from other restaurants is the thickness of the squid. If sliced too thinly, the squid shrinks to almost nothing when fried, so the batter falls off it. If sliced too thick, it just becomes difficult to eat, and the batter doesn’t do too well on it either. Viet Grill has the Goldilocks factor, and each piece of squid retains just the right amount of chewiness.
Bò tùng xeo - Feudal Roasted Beef £9
Then, we just had to show off the feudal beef. Looking at the piece of beef, you’d have assumed it’d be overcooked and chewy, but how wrong you’d be on that. The beef is marinated with a fantastic, sweet and salty, slightly tangy sauce which must do something to the beef when it’s being cooked, as we’ve had this dish many times before and each time, it is cooked to perfection; rare and so tender. You really should try this if you’re here.
Bún Sa (Lemongrass sautéed beef served with rice vermicelli and viet herb salad) £7
While the grilled meat dishes are famous, and rightly so in Viet Grill, the same can’t be said for their noodle dishes. While the noodles might be better here than at alot of the other restaurants, it’s just not up to scratch when compared with the grilled meat dishes. I know it’s not really fair comparing grilled meat to noodles, but surely if the noodles were good enough, you’d get the same feeling of satisfaction when you had both dishes, correct? Not so though, because when the noodle dish was brought to the table, and we’d all had a try of it, the bowl of noodles then got sneakily pushed to the side of the table, only to be looked at again when the other dishes had been eaten.
Com suon (Pan seared pork fillet mignon with house pickle over steamed rice) £7
The pork on rice here is also very nice. Slightly tougher than char siew, but tasty nevertheless. The salad that comes on top of the meat and rice is so very tasty also, I’ve been wanting to learn how to make this salad, but no matter how I try to get the recipe for the sauce online, the salad just doesn’t taste the same. I can’t get the texture right, don’t know how to retain the crunchiness of the vegetables the way they do it in Viet Grill.
Bún Nem (‘Spring Bowl’ of imperial and prawn spring rolls, grilled meat parcel on rice vermicelli and viet herbs salad) £7
This one’s a new one, not tried it before. The reason for not trying it previously was because I didn’t know that Vietnamese spring roll was so different to the Chinese spring roll. What I don’t like about the Chinese spring roll is the stereotypical tasteless rolls of vegetables deep fried to resemble a starter. The Vietnamese version however, has none of that, but instead has a crispy almost bubbly skin, tasty pork filling, and is served in generous portions on top of noodles. While I maintain what I said about the noodles (ie not so impressive), the topping was very surprising, and very nice.
Like all other posts, would I recommend this restaurant? Many times I would, so do check it out if you’re nearby, or if you want to try a new Vietnamese restaurant.
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