The blissed-out bear logo and bright orange and white fittings make this a jolly lunchtime spot. The bright, clean interior also comes as a relief in a rather grimy part of town. Sandwiches, salads and smoothies employ colourful, fresh ingredients, as in vegetable rolls offset by a fiery chilli and peanut dipping sauce. The baguettes – used for the national sandwich of Vietnam (banh mi), or for mopping spicy beef soup – have a lovely light crunch thanks to the use of rice flour. Other hot options include noodle dishes and stews. Everything is beautifully presented, with artfully scattered chilli rings and parsley garnishes. Children get a shelf of picture books, and may also take a shine to Panda Panda’s line in confectionery-based milkshakes. Adults will probably prefer the smoothies and fruit bubble teas. Smiley staff are super-efficient and happy to explain ingredients. Bring cash, as cards aren’t accepted.
Venue says: “Come and try our £5 lunch deal. Any baguette or banh mi and a drink. Authentic Vietnamese cuisine in south east London.”