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  • Brick Lane
  • 2 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

A Vietnamese restaurant on Brick Lane, with diners invited to 'fold' their own summer rolls.

Here’s the thing. We wanted to love Fold. It’s the first bricks-and-mortar venture from a Vietnamese chef and a former ad-agency strategist who together had already run a successful catering business. It’s also based around a fun concept: the fold-your-own summer roll. And we love a bit of DIY.

There is plenty to like, from the slick modern interior to the charming, well-drilled staff. So what’s our beef? Well, it starts with that DIY USP. Our table was too small for cook-your-own beef ‘carpaccio’ (£14.50), and when it came to making the rolls, the pickled carrot and daikon lacked clout while the dipping sauces were so-so and there just wasn’t enough of anything. Four slices of cucumber for six rice papers just about sums it up. Then the rolls are a bit of a bugger to make too; although the hands-on aspect of this has appeal, we ended up feeling they were better left to the experts rather than us bungling, all-fingers-and-thumbs amateurs.

There was one decent dish: a mango salad (£4) with lemongrass, celeriac and a nicely balanced nuoc mam cham dressing, which gave it the kind of zip our summer rolls so badly lacked. 

But a canh chua pho (£8) was a return to disappointment – and bafflement. In Vietnamese cuisine, canh chua pho is a soup made with fish. At Fold, you have to pay an extra £3 for the fish. (And £1.50 for noodles.) This is a bit like putting onion soup on the menu and then charging extra for the onions. Cheeky pricing, to put it mildly. In any event, our unwillingness to pay extra perhaps explained why the bowl was, mysteriously, only a third full. It had a good tamarind tang but was far too sweet.

We left with the impression that Fold has one eye on the concept and the other on the bottom line, with a marketer’s mitts everywhere else. Let’s hope they make the improvements needed and that the name isn’t tempting fate. We’re pretty sure there’s a good restaurant in here, somewhere. 

Written by
Stephen Farmer


204 Brick Lane
E1 6SA
Shoreditch High Street rail
Meal for two with drinks and service: around £60.
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