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Union Viet

Restaurants, Vietnamese Southwark
3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Cheapo family-run Vietnamese eatery near Southwark tube.

Southwark’s office workers no longer need dream of the Kingsland Road when planning lunch: a little slice of the Pho Mile has arrived in SE1. This super-friendly, counter service Vietnamese eatery serves an inexpensive selection of banh mi, noodle soups and classics. My ginger-flecked, zingy Pho was the best of the bunch: other dishes, such as a sweet, but overly greasy caramelised pork belly stew and fragrant, if disappointingly lettuce-heavy summer rolls, had potential to be better.

The post-industrial decor is pepped up by Orientalism (white-washed walls, concrete pillars and wall-mounted bamboo hats saying ‘Vietnam’), while a menu displayed on an illuminated digi-board sits behind a till that’s surrounded by wicker baskets offering impulse purchases of 50p bananas.

There’s something quite old-school about diners having to help themselves to chopsticks and water from a table in the corner of the room, though. And you can tell it’s a family-run restaurant from the super-friendly staff – we were offered free samples of spring rolls to help make up our minds – even if they aren’t devastatingly efficient (one bowl of Pho arrived with the wrong kind of noodles).

All in all, a decent lunch destination rather than an essential evening one. Partly because our Wednesday evening visit found a handful of diners rattling around a largely empty restaurant. But mainly because you can bag yourself a meal for a fiver.


Address: 120 Union St
Transport: Tube: Southwark
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