Nigel Kennedy and mezzo Joyce DiDonato will be starting us off with a new piece by Anna Clyne and a performance of Vaughan Williams’s ‘Lark Ascending’ before the flag-waving buffoons elbow their way down to the front and go mental to ‘Rule Britannia’, ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ and the routinely misunderstood socialist anthem ‘Jerusalem’. Keep calm and carry on.
Pho & Bun
Who says London isn’t friendly? The couple sitting next to us at this trendy Vietnamese newcomer were nice as pie when we asked to borrow some space from them. We had little choice. The tables at Pho & Bun are tiny enough to make dining out feel like a game of Jenga, with dishes precariously placed and nimble hands needed. But outside that gnawing grumble? Mostly pretty good, with props going to their signature dish: a burger served not in bread, or even brioche, but in a bao (steamed bun). We enjoyed the patty, its charcoal-cooked smokiness dialled up a notch by a punchy smoky mayo. A bao might not offer the depth of a traditional burger bap (your teeth meet the meat too quickly) but the sweetness and soft chew makes it an intriguing, memorable combo. Elsewhere it was perfectly decent Vietnamese fare: summer rolls with plump tiger prawns, beef pho with a reassuringly clear broth. The main disappointment was from woefully underseasoned chilli salt-and-pepper squid. The fact that it was delivered by mistake (we’d ordered a different rib dish) didn’t help, or the fact that the waiter returned to insinuate we were in the wrong. Sweet potato fries were okay, though the chilli mayo lacked clout. We didn’t stay for dessert, but as we left, our friendly neighbours seemed to be cooing over a pandan-and-coconut panna cotta. Or perhaps they were just happy to have their table back.