Part of a Vietnamese community centre, in charming De Beauvoir Town, Huong-Viet is located some considerable distance from any other restaurants or shops. Its slightly off-putting institutional exterior belies a reasonably warm, simply decorated interior. Nevertheless, tables and chairs are poorly arranged, making for cramped seating.
At a nearby table set in the corner of an alcove, two or three people had to move to let others get to the toilets. It can also get very noisy when full. Youthful New East Enders predominated over local Vietnamese among the customers, possibly because the food can be lacklustre. Spicy soft-shell crab consisted of tiny nuggets in a thick soggy coating of batter that had fused together into one big amorphous lump. Beef pho contained numerous slices of meat but little flavour and few, if any, added herbs.
In contrast, hot and spicy lamb was pretty good, as were the summer rolls. So, the menu seems to be something of a lottery, with a handful of winning combinations amid many duds. Service was slow, disinterested and lacking in warmth.