Har Gau


Sunday, 29 August 2010

Banh Mi Bay, 4-6 Theobald Road, WC1X 8PN

Boy oh boy have I been away from this little blog for some while.

First, I was busy with work – didn’t stop me eating though.

Then, I had (and still have) what is popularly referred to as The Dodgy Tummy – that stopped me eating (but only for a bit). This has been going on for three weeks now, and before you say ‘What is wrong with you, why are you not going to the doctor’, I have. It just takes ages to get the results back.

So, between going to work, and the toilet (sorry), I’ve hardly found the time to blog. However, since it’s bank holiday weekend and all that, I decided to eat, take the pictures, and blog about it. It was kinda weird taking pictures of food again, felt like the weirdo in the corner snapping away at a sandwich, but you gotta do what you gotta do for the blog.

Banh Mi Bay

A few weeks ago, D&A took us to Banh Mi Bay near Greys Inn Road, but when we got there, the lady in the restaurant said that their lower ground floor was flooded and so the restaurant was shut for the day. Disappointment ensued, but we quickly got over it by stuffing our faces at Bea’s of Bloomsbury where they have the most delicious, decadent, cheesy lemon drizzle cake in London. And then we went to eat some Italian food also, which made up for the lack of Vietnamese sandwiches.


This weekend, because the bf was feeling eurghh also, we decided to have something clear and clean tasting, so we decided to try this place out again. First impressions, it’s so chic, so clean, so trendy, it’s what I want my lounge to look like (if I had a restaurant in my lounge, I know I’ve made it).

The tables and chairs look like they’d feel right at home in Soho, and the bright, duck egg green/blue space looks really inviting. Despite it being quite late in the day on a Saturday, there were quite a few tables filled up and everyone looked like they were enjoying what they were having. Good start.

Banh Mi Bay

What I’d like my lounge to look like.

Banh Mi Bay

The menu is a cute little (just like the restaurant) booklet with just enough to give you a good variety to choose from, but without boggling me before I even begin. Did I ever tell you how I hate big menus? No? Thought I’d mention it.

Banh Mi Bay

Since we came here especially for the sandwiches, we HAD to order one of those things, didn’t we. And so we did. The bay-friend (geddit?) ordered the 12e Bay Special. It’s one of those things, where, usually, the item named either after the restaurant, or something something Special, is usually okay.

Banh Mi Bay

I took one look at the menu and decided that I’d have a little starter just because, and jump straight on to dessert. Not having tried this glutinous rice thingee before, it seemed like a good choice because the summer roll wasn’t gonna fill me up, and glutinous rice is usually annoyingly filing.

Banh Mi Bay

The 12e Banh Mi Bay Special £3.50 was described on the menu as ‘Homemade pate, spiced pork and pork roll.’

While Googling for the address of this restaurant, I came across another blog which said that a banh mi was supposed to be made out of a certain kind of bread, made from rice flour. Good thing we had no idea what the bread was meant to be made of, as we thoroughly enjoyed this.

Banh Mi Bay

It’s not that much different from any other sandwich, but what makes it more enjoyable than a boring, mayo-filled, square sandwich is the fact that this tasted like a bowl of Vietnamese noodles. It was a very interesting mixture of tastes and textures.

- Chewy and soft bread 
- Crunchy julienned carrot and cucumber
- Spicy parsley
- Salty, tasty pate with the tiniest hint of alcohol
- Thinly sliced sausage which brought about a comfort factor to the sandwich

Banh Mi Bay


Banh Mi Bay

All this talk is making me thirsty. Welcome to the three layer Vietnamese coffee, which was really enjoyable.

Banh Mi Bay

This was my starter-dessert combo, starting with the Bi Cuon (caramel pork summer roll) £3.50.

I love chewy summer roll skin, and boy oh boy, was this one chewy. Couldn’t really taste the caramel pork, and neither felt its texture, which kinda makes me think that it’s almost wasted in a summer roll, but that could be entirely due to the fact that I drenched the roll in the sweet, tangy fish sauce served up with it.

Banh Mi Bay

I could have had ten of those.

Banh Mi Bay

The Che Dau Trang dessert of glutinous rice and black eyed peas with a generous blobbing of creamy coconut milk. Despite telling myself that I’d not be greedy, and not eat everything like I always do, guess what, I finished it all. The glutinous rice was just too shimmery and wobbly for me to resist. It just sat there like a shiny little quivering rice mountain, and the black eyed peas provided a crunchy dimension to the dish.

Would I recommend this place? Uh huh, sure would.

On a sidenote, I’m watching Ultimate Big Brother as I type this, and I must conclude that Nikky is the most interesting contestant on the show.

Google Maps to here!

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Bahn Mi Bay on Urbanspoon


KimHo said...

Can I ask how long is that banh mi? If it was ~15 cm/6 inch, then we are spoiled here in Vancouver. One of such sandwich cost less than CDN $4 (<₤2.5)...

monchichi said...

Hey, nice to see you here again! I've not been blogging let alone checking anyone else's blog, so it's really nice to see that someone's still reading mine! The banh mi was about 8 inches long? It was really nice though, and compared to other sandwiches from sandwich places, the price is reasonable, and taste better. Though I don't disagree that you have it quite cheap over there!!!

KimHo said...

Good blogs deserve a readership! ;)

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