Friends of pho make a beeline for the excellent Vietnamese noodle soups here – always on song at Song Que.
This is still the star of the Kingsland Road Vietnamese scene. Big, light, airy, buzzy (if slightly resembling a school canteen), Song Que is constantly packed with happy customers including many families and a good showing of Vietnamese locals. There’s usually a warm welcome from one of the many staff, who deliver prompt, efficient and friendly service.
Food is almost always first class and highly authentic – and good value. Flavours are full and true, and textures perfect, bringing the best out of each dish.
Acolytes state that the kitchen makes the best pho in London, which is quite a claim, but the version served here is certainly excellent. Our assorted starters were excellent too, including a skilfully executed cross between a prawn toast and a banh mi: what seemed like a butterflied whole king prawn on a baguette slice beneath the minced prawn mixture – a real texture treat.
We experienced just two minor negatives: not automatically getting a change of paper table covering, and having to troop across the room to the cash desk to pay by card. Still, it will be the excellent food that lingers in the memory.
|Venue name:||Song Que||Contact:|
134 Kingsland Road
|Opening hours:||Lunch served noon-3pm, dinner served 5.30-11pm Mon-Fri. Meals served noon-11pm Sat; noon-10.30pm Sun|
|Transport:||Tube: Hoxton rail|
|Price:||Main courses £4.80-£11.80|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
2.2 / 5
- 5 star:7
- 4 star:11
- 3 star:5
- 2 star:12
- 1 star:34
Was there last Friday and cannot understand why TimeOut gave this black hole of Hanoi a 5 star review. The waiters were rude, completely oblivious to what was happening around them and one served us dishes of which he didn't know what they were. During the whole time we were there we were treated with the lovely sewage smell of east london. The staff then decided to gas their customers with cheap air refreshener. If you wish to visit this restaurant, I suggest you watch a prison movie first. The way prisoners are served their food and made to eat it resembles the atmosphere of this restaurant. The guy who was in charge of the floor could have easily gotten a role as a sadistic prison guard in a movie. He didn't take any orders but was happy to remind you (in an unpleasant way) of how many minutes you had left to eat whatever grub they served you (and the food was dull grub) Also it would help if they mopped the floor before they opened. We were one of the first diners that evening and the floor was already sticky and dirty. Imagine how their kitchen will be. All in all, an abandoned McDonald's infested with rats has more atmosphere, better food and better staff than this "restaurant".
Has this place fallen under new ownership? I simply don't understand how Timeout could be so off the mark with this one. Those are lovely pictures above and I'd love to know where they were taken but certainly not recently at Song Que. The food was truly awful. I would like to be more specific about which dishes were passable and which to avoid but it was very difficult to distinguish between them as all were rather bland and thus tasted alike. Was a real shame to see such a beautiful cuisine destroyed in this fashion. I can only commend them for creating a hype when none should exist. Bravo.
Frentic, loud and casual; I'm immediately transported to Hanoi. The only difference? Proper chairs are a luxury compared to the wooden stools. The food? As beautiful. This restaurant is run by Vietnamese and have the same 'chop chop' approach to business - eat, pay, leave. So do come in with different expectations about service which is balanced by the price. The usuals on my order are usually the Pho (noodle soup), Bun (noodle salad) and Betel leaf beef started. Portions are huge, I recommend sharing and having your own delicious and silky Vietnamese iced coffee. What a way to enjoy your weekend!
I came here about 2 months ago with a friend who was moving abroad. I've been to Song Que on several occasions with friends to have fresh, tasty, cheap food. The service is usually poor and I accepted that but on this occasion as I was catching up with my friend, we had finished our meal and were in that stage where we were wondering about whether or not to order dessert. We couldn't get the waiter's attention, so we kept chatting for a bit and then suddenly the bill turn's up. We both looked at the waiter blankly and so he said "You finished, people waiting" as he pointed to people waiting at the door. We were both gobsmacked! We felt it was very rude and decided that we should pay and leave immediately and get dessert elsewhere. I was very disappointed and it was a terrible end to the meal. I will not be coming back here.
I have been to this place. The food is quite good, but the service is terrible and the waiters are rude. One even asked me to leave when I sat in a table for 2 since that was located in a rather quiet area, but they wanted me to move to somewhere else.
I've been coming here for years now and I only recently I stopped. The food quality I believe is gone down drastically, maybe the fame got to their heads! I'm now going next door...opened only last winter and food is really good and the service is fantastic. I wouldn't recommend Song Que anymore... :-(
Well what can I say. I'm Vietnamese, a friend of the family and a local to the restaurant. I was surprised to see the new sign with "Time Out Best Cheap Eats" significantly displayed. I wanted to find out the reason and couldn't believe the number of negative comments I found here. Sadly, I agreed with all of it. The food has always been amazing hence the number of customers and I always recommend it to anyone who ask me for the best Vietnamese place to eat. An incident occurred with me recently which I feel compelled to write, this happened well before they put up the new sign. I asked a friend to meet me there for lunch. When I arrived she was sitting at a table for two. I asked her to move to a table for four as we had so many bags with us. The place was 3/4 empty but this stupid fat little waiter, a nephew of the owner told us we must remain at the table for two. I said no we need more space so we can be more comfortable when we eat. He still insisted that we must sit where we were shown to and that's the law he said. I said "Law? What law? What are you talking about? I'm here to eat, not attend court." We moved to a different table anyway. He couldn't do anything about it and went off to tell the other waiting staffs, the floor manager, the kitchen staffs and everybody came out to have a good look at me. That angered me so I called the manager to come over but she was afraid to. I complained to another waiter but he was petrified to do anything about it. Once the meal was over I went to see a girl at the nails bar a few doors down who's a friend of mine and the owner's sister. She couldn't apologise enough and said she will speak to her sister about it. Come to this place for the food if you must and leave early. The waiting staffs here are mainly overseas students on £4 an hour so don't expect a proper service if any at all. And avoid that stupid fat little waiter if you can.
DON'T GO HERE. When I went, as the waiter's were clearing the table one said to the other to keep the rice that we hadn't eaten. They didn't realise I understand Vietnamese. When we confronted the maitre d, she had nothing to say. No wonder so many people have commented that they have been sick.
Ate here since the place had amazing reviews, and felt very unwell afterwards. I do not understand why this restaurant is so highly rated. Plus the staff were very unfriendly.
I live down the road so ordered a takeaway for 2 people. This was easily the worst food I've eaten in a long time. The soft shell crab was inspid , the vietnamese spring rolls mediocre and the beef with crispy noodles slimy and tasteless. The pho was the most disappointing and went directly in the bin. A waste of £28 and I'm still hungry.
Very rude staff, appalling service, average food. Look elsewhere. The staff almost depise customers here (if they can be bothered to serve you - and, when they do, they want you out in 5 mins). DREADFUL!!!
Song Que's popularity is beyond me..the food is full of MSG, the chicken looks and tastes reconstituted, quality is akin to a bog standard high street Chinese...
The waiters were rude and unfriendly, I ordered a pho which tasted bland and my girlfriend one of their pancakes which was very greasy and bland. It's completely overrated and shouldn't be recommended to anyone who likes authentic asian food.
I googled cheap eats in kingsland road and this came up. I had been to a two other Vietnamese restaurants in that area and was tempted to go to the trusted viet grill - but then changed our mind. The décor does not look like a typical restaurant and as there were not many people there - we were not sure. We ordered 3 starters to share and as the pancake was so large - we could not fit in a main. 1. spicy deep fried prawns - awesome and tasty. 2. chicken and prawn pancake - stuffed with tons of beans sprouts; sounds bland and boring and looks strange - but drizzled with sweet chilli - awesome!!!! Maybe a little large for a starter - but I never really understood people who complained about being served too much food - if you feel yourself getting full - stop eating 3. Lamb chops; oh sweet manna!! Marinated in sweet and sticky sauce of - oh so goodness. Yes, the waiters weren't that polite - although one told me i was beautiful when reapplying my lipstick - but I it makes up for in the quality of food. My food experience; a whole of load awesomeness!!!!!
Terrible service! Rude and abrupt staff. Had much better experiences at the other Vietnamese restaurants nearby.
Went here yesterday on a whim. We were in the area and asked in a local cafe which was the best Vietnamese restaurant on the street. It was 5pm and the waiters were actually all eating dinner but we needed something to eat. I had the wonton pho, it was a thing of wonder... beautifully balanced fragrant broth, homemade wontons, perfectly cooked noodles. My friend had the grilled catfish soup which was also delicious. In response to the negative comments below, yes, if you go to an authentically Asian restaurant, you're probably going to get authentically Asian service. And when it's busy, standards are much more likely to slip. But this was the best Pho I've had outside Vietnam and I'll be going back.
Very rude waitress! Just passed the door and they asked you need to have eaten in 1hour and half! No hello or whatever... Then they seat you on a table just next to someone while the restaurant is half empty!!!! Don't go if you are a couple and have a child, cause they will seat you on a table for two! Will never go again! There are so manu nicer restaurants around where the food and service are amazing.
Is time out getting money from the restaurant? It is ugly, bad service and the food is comparable to the dodgiest take away around the corner of my house.
The food is incredibly nice, price is also good. The service is not amazing, the place is crazy busy......because the food is good.
How comes Time Out gives good ratings ? This restaurant used to be a little gem - now the owners are focussed on $$$ - very rude service, go spend your money elsewhere...
The food here used to be very good... however, the owners are focussed on $$$ and certainly not customer care. However, none if this seems to stop people coming for a cheap-eat. Be warned though... The staff are very rude and abrupt, telling you to hurry up and wont hesitate to argue with you if they gave you something you didn't order! Yes, the age old "customer is always right" does not apply at Song Que. My verdict: Song Que is "past it" - there are lots of other nice local restaurants which fit budget so go find them!
Our experience at this restaurant was one of the worst ever. Our starters (spring rolls and pork wrapped in betel leaves) were decent, even good, but the service was brusque from the very start. Our mains, (vermicelli noodles with stir fried pork and beef) were awful and completely indelible. I signalled our waiter and told him that I could not eat my meal. Glaring down at me he demanded "Why?" I responded the meat seemed old and had a strange taste. "We are busy!" he said. "Meat is fresh!" "Well, I cannot eat it." I said, pushing my untouched bowl in his direction. "You must pay!" he growled. So we paid for the full meal and left, swearing never to return.
Total disappointment! In fact, one of biggest culinary letdowns in my memory. Overpriced, fatty and lacking in substance food. My husband will eat almost anything, but he couldn't even finish his spring rolls. Five stars?!!
Spring rolls were dripping in fat. Main courses (morning glory in garlic and then tofu) were in some sugary gloop. The rice had no fragrance. Just really bad food and £35 with two beers (no vietnamese beer either). Go to Tre Viet on Mare Street. The food is ten times better. Recommend you avoid this place unless you are extremely hungry / drunk (delete as appropriate).
Despite the negative comments, the fact this restaurant is always busy is because the food is tasty. The soups are fragrant and bun noodle dishes flavoursome.
This is the closest you will get to authentic pho from Vietnam, however, Song Que is inconsistent. The pho on a Sunday is rubbish. On a Wednesday, its ok. The noodles come raw. Twice in a row, we had to send the noodles back and the staff think you dont know anything about food. The noodles ARE meant to be cooked before they put the stock in. Plus they want to charge you if you ask for herbs when pho is meant to come with herbs. Its a shame that they dont care about loosing returning customers because they are always full and if we stop going, they really couldnt care less. Unfortunately, if you want the real deal, you need to travel to Vietnam.
Food was completely tasteless. 'spicy' squid was boring, flavoured with a bit of pepper. Salad inside the summer rolls was brown and slimy. However, anything was better than the noodle soup that had been so highly recommended. It simply tasted like salty dishwater which they had tried to conceal with an overwhelming amount of coriander. Worst meal I have ever had the misfortune of paying for.
A most rude girl was serving tonight, definitely will not revisit again despite relatively alright food wise.
Dined here in late September. The food was great (spicy squid, summer rolls). The service, while perhaps not exactly the warmest and most welcoming, was perfectly fine. Recommended for its food quality and value for money. A great deal all in all.
As a former employee of the local college, I used to regularly visit Song Que and had continued to do so until around 12 months ago, having always been most impressed by the high standard of food at very reasonable prices. For years, I have been recommending it. Not any more after last Friday’s experience. It has obviously grown way too big for its reputedly ‘so popular’ boots! I arrived with a friend at 6.30p.m. when the restaurant was quite empty. We had made no reservation but were told we could not sit at the empty tables by the window but had to take one in the middle in a row of cafe style tables. Menus were delivered and, despite an abundant number of waiters standing around chatting, we eventually had to call one over to place an order. We had not even been asked for our drinks’ order at that stage. No sooner had the starters been brought than the main course dishes were also placed on the table and an ‘eat up, clear off’ mentality was already being established. We were brought the bill - unasked for - before ordering desserts (most of which turned out to be unavailable) and then, at just after 8 p.m., whilst finishing our tea, we were asked if we could leave as people were waiting to come in. The service was perhaps the most contemptuous and rude I have ever experienced in London (or Vietnam). On requesting to speak to the manager, the waiter I had asked told me he was “the manager”. No concern for giving service – but an attitude of ‘three/four sets of diners’ at every table per evening... “sorry, thank you, bye bye”...?? There needs to be a clear sign by the door saying “You are only allowed to stay here for 90 mins. maximum and, please, you should preferably eat up within the hour”. As for the food, the vegetable spring rolls and spicy squid were both excellent; the satay chicken and main course chicken dish average - suffering from the use of ‘cheap, water injected chicken’, I suspect; the sea bream and vegetable dishes both lacked the flavours one would expect from quality Vietnamese food. My advice would be to avoid at all costs – and choose somewhere like Que Viet a few doors away where, for approximately the same price, a group of us recently had outstanding food and excellent service in a congenial, relaxed atmosphere. There are, in fact, a substantial number of very welcoming restaurants in “Pho Mile” serving similarly priced food. By-pass Song Que!
My husband and I had a meal at the Song Que, upon entering the restaurant we were greeted by a member of staff and seated, we were given a menu and placed our order, Platter (ribs, crispy seaweed ++) and a main meal. The platter arrived and we started to tuck in, the crispy seaweed did not live up to its description it was soggy and tasted stale, I told the waiter who seemed not to understand what I was saying so I asked to speak with the Manager, The Manager (a woman) came over, I explained my grievance and she kept repeating "yes its crispy seaweed" I asked her to try it and altho you could tell she knew I was right she still stood her ground and told me it was correct. NO APOLOGY NO OFFER OF TAKING IT OFF THE BILL, very rude, unappreciative of customers in the economic climate I WILL NOT BE RECOMMEDING THIS RESTAURANT TO ANYONE and would kindly like you to send a shopper to this restaurant to re-review. As I can already see from comments below the service has been mentioned on quite a few occasions. I was not put off by the decor, the food we ate was adequate but what happened to customer service and the customer is always right.......
I've been coming here for years, for what is the best pho, summer rolls, beef in betel, and spicy squid I've tasted west of Hanoi. However the last 3 times I visited the service was so rude and unpleasant-and I dont mean brusque but actually rude, that it has put me and my friends off returning. This has broken my previously unblemished loyalty to song que. It also has to be said that while those dishes i have listed are superb, most of the main courses here are disappointing. I have always ended up feeling sad when I've been tempted to stay away from the pho. It would make my day if Song Que sorted out their service and I could tempt my friends back for another lovely pho.
AVOID AVOID AVOID - RUDE Service.... This restaurant is a gem, great food and wont break the bank. However, the service by the front of house 'man' is poor and rude. I asked for a table for 3 people, a friend was on the bus on 10 minutes away. However, the man could not stop asking 'where your friend'.... this went on even when we were seated. We can to order food (friend was still stuck on a bus) and the same guy rudely again said 'wheres your friend' ? 'wheres your friend?' ..... at this point I lost it and called the manager over.
I've eaten here a few times now, and I've found the vegetarian food hot, fresh tasting, a little on the salty side, but absolutely fine. It's somewhere I'll come back to if I'm needing some salty, savoury tastiness. I've also had no problem with the service. The staff don't bow and scrape, but they're polite enough and service has always been reasonably quick.
You come here for the pho and it's good really good. FACT. Don't bother going if you're going to make a fuss over service, decor or simply good food. This place is a no nonsense, super fast service eatery not a fine dine restaurant. Don't come if you want to lounge around sipping beers with your friends. That's what a bar is for. Anyone one who thinks other wise needs to get their head examined.
whoever thinks this is a 2 star is also the same idiot that ordered the aromatic duck. BEST RESTAURANT IN SHOREDITCH
So i decided to try out this restaurant after seeing them packed every time i pass by and sure i made a right decision, it even led me to posting up a review which i rarely do. So i ordered a Pho which i always order when i go to a vietnamese restaurant and by far can i say that it's the best i ever had. It was seasoned well and just brightened up my day. The place didn't look pretty but i didn't care, you come to a restaurant to eat not to stare. I also ordered a summer roll which was so fresh, i even heard the crunch when i bit into it. The rice paper around it was not dry so i can clearly tell that they did not make it beforehand and made it to order. I was surprised at the speed at which the food came considering they make it to order. The service wasn't great but wasn't bad well it was better that that i received at other vietnamese restaurants. Definitely would recommend this place.. and btw the price was so cheap that i had to leave a generous tip as service charge wasn't included
I'm Vietnamese and I must say this is one of the most unpleasant Viet restaurant I've ever experienced. Our friends and I went for a simple Vietnamese lunch (with rice, braised fish in clay pot and soups). The rice could not be colder than if it is spread on a witch's bossoms while she hang out bare-breast on one of Hanoi's December nights. When the rice came out I immediately feel uneasy about the place. There was a big party at the next table with kids and the place was indeed chaotic so we thought they might be forgiven for that. But then the soup arrived, again cold and sickly, sickly sweet together with some sad-looking pieces of fish of questionable species lies beneath a layer of tapioca starch glaze in the clay pot has done us the coup de grace. Tapioca starch! In a braised fish dish! Can you imagine this blasphemy! Honestly I don't feel the owners and chefs put any efforts into the food at all. Don't go to this place, even if all you only want non-authentic, pan-Asian fare. There are so many much much nicer Viet restaurants within paces of the area. Don't be the unlucky guy to land in this place, which simply doesn't justify your money.
Awful. Simply awful. Perhaps we went on an bad night, but the food was grimly disappointing. The fried monk fish was lacking, particularly in monk fish of which there were three paltry pieces hidden in a sea of onions. The pho was uninspired--lacking the complexity of even the OK competition down the street--and served with wilting mint and soggy bean sprouts. Well, you get the idea. The service was also unpleasant, including plates dropped on the table, multiple incorrect deliveries, and frequent reminders to leave soon. If I'm honest, this still probably deserves two stars, but I'm trying to do something about the ridiculous grade inflation. You get better food at the Pho in Westfield, which is sad.