Sample top-notch Vietnamese cooking, with a forte in seafood, at this no-frills Kingsland Road stalwart.
Much derided for its rather unimpressive, run-down façade and pretty shabby, paint-peeling decor (which could all be remedied fairly quickly and cheaply), Mien Tay is nevertheless a great place to get authentic, top-notch food. The two-roomed interior is cramped, and filled with staff who seem to do lots of unnecessary wandering up and down. The very reasonable prices attract a fairly young, mostly western clientele, and the idiosyncratic layout manages to accommodate at least one long table for parties, and two nicely tucked-away tables for duos. As for the food, stir-fried green mussels with ginger and spring onion was a delight: plump and tasty mussels, perfectly cooked à point, with a sauce that was spot-on. Scallops with black bean sauce were equally brilliant; the chef here obviously has a way with seafood. Lẫu, or seafood hotpot (for a minimum of two diners) seems equally appealing. There’s a short but excellent wine list, compiled for the restaurant by Willie Lebus of Bibendum, plus the two usual beers, Tiger and Saigon.