Most of London’s Vietnamese restaurants are clustered around Shoreditch and Hackney, so it’s a bonus to find a more centrally located venue in which to load up on pho (rice noodle soup), summer rolls, banh xeo (pancake) and other Viet classics. At lunchtime, many local workers pop in for takeaway banh mi: a crisp baguette stuffed with pickled carrot and daikon, cucumber, coriander and chilli, plus a filling of your choice – perhaps chargrilled beef or prawn, or spicy pork.
Pho comes in beef and chicken variants, plus a vegetarian option that’s packed with tofu, mushrooms, carrots and daikon; the broth doesn’t have the depth of flavour it could, but is a decent enough rendition. For a zingy starter, go for the goi: crisp, shredded vegetables in a chilli-citrus dressing topped with crushed peanuts, with prawns and pork as optional extras.
The decor is more country kitchen than oriental café, with soothing pale green walls, scrubbed pine tables, white-painted chairs and mini chandeliers, and the huge windows mean it’s light and bright on even the gloomiest winter’s day.