I imagine that everyone who goes to work in the City for 5 days a week gets very bored of their lunches after a while. Pret = Eat = M&S = Tesco = blah, even if some of them try their best. (Although a concerted and honest attempt at authenticity would be very much appreciated
I try and bring my own lunch a lot of the time, because then I know what’s in it, and it uses up leftovers. It has been said that I intentionally cook for the leftovers, and people may well be right about that. I do love a good leftover.
But there are times when I need to go out and buy something, and the boredom sets in fairly quickly, so when a colleague mentioned a new Vietnamese ‘street food’ place, I wanted to give it a try. Vietnamese food has always seemed to have such a zing and a clean freshness about it, that it certainly shoves a carb-laden sandwich aside. I’ve often wanted to try a banh-mi (Vietnamese baguette with herbed salad and various other fillings) because people have said that it’s so good, but that certainly isn’t the limit of the cuisine.
We attempted one visit, but The Attack of the Fussy Eater got in the way, so a colleague and I decided to go on our own. After all, a group Lunch is never fun if you want to hit one of your party with a skillet.
Awesome Colleague and I did the world’s most nonchalant Leg It from work at noon on the dot, and walked up Kingsway to find a small but clean and simple restaurant, with the front doors wide open. They do takeaway as well. Wooden tables and benches, much like Miso, each set with a bottle of Sriracha, a bottle of Hoisin, side plates and chopsticks.
Service was polite and speedy. Our choosing was not speedy. We decided to make it easier by choosing something from the set lunch menu and off we went.
Aloe Vera juice and Young Coconut Juice arrived almost as soon as we asked for them, followed closely by our starters.
AC had summer rolls with tofu, and I chose crispy rolls with pork and crab. Both come with shredded, lightly pickled daikon and carrot, and a small bowl of dip. Chilli and white vinegar for the crispy rolls, and a thick, dark hoisin style one with chopped peanuts for the summer rolls.
We each tried a bit of the other’s dish, and pronounced everything to be extremely good. If you don’t like coriander, then this is not the place for you I’m afraid. Just a friendly warning there.
The summer rolls were so fresh and light. Filled with crunchy herbs and salad, with thin pieces of tofu in the middle. They did tend to fall apart somewhat, as the summer roll wrappers are very delicate.
My crispy rolls were deeply savoury, far more meat than crab in flavour, and held together extremely well. They also hold the heat!
As soon as we were done with those, the next lot arrived! The place had become very busy indeed, with people queuing out of the door.
AC had honey barbecued pork with rice and salad, and I chose the lemongrass grilled chicken, with glass noodles. I love me some mung bean noodles.
Again, freshness was paramount here. The salad was crunchy, all the flavours in the meat came through, none swamped by anything else.
A perfect lunch on a grey day.
I think we will definitely be going back!