This song is definitely on our playlist.
After hearing about Joobin’s less than perfect Vietnamese dining experience at Little Hanoi, I decided to check out if the grass was greener anywhere else.
And my oh my was the Sông Quê Cafe…well…a different tune altogether.
Outside, the window is plastered with newspaper articles about awards the place has won, including the Time Out Eating & Drinking Award for Best Cheap Eats (2003) and a 2008 article regarding its place in Time Out’s London’s 50 Best restaurants.
These impressive credentials meant I couldn’t wait to be seated in the ridiculously busy restaurant, and although the décor is nothing to shout about, the friendly, fast service is better than many ‘higher class’ restaurants I have been to. As well, the waiter knew off the top of his head every number on the menu – and this was a menu with well over 200 hundred dishes on it. Impressive!
I ordered a mixed starter of crispy squid, prawn toast, crispy seaweed and spare ribs, in addition to some spring rolls which tasted much spicier in comparison to Chinese spring rolls. As a group we also ordered a crispy pancake to share.
With the crispy pancake I was expecting a bland omelette-esque dish, but was pleasantly surprised by crispy batter and crunch bean sprouts nestled inside.
[quote_right]My main course of scallops with ginger and garlic was impeccable and by far the nicest thing I have eaten. Ever. [/quote_right]As a whole, all the dishes were fresh and gorgeously presented. My main course of scallops with ginger and garlic was impeccable and by far the nicest thing I have eaten. Ever. Moreover, the scallops were absolutely massive – like nothing I have ever seen before.
My friend’s vegetarian dish of aubergine in ginger and garlic sauce was also a big hit, despite the aubergines being green, as opposed to the purple ones we are accustomed to.
Upon leaving the restaurant, a large queue had formed outside the door, and this is very much a regular occurrence at the restaurant that I encounter everyday walking home from work. After being lucky enough to visit this place I definitely will wait my turn in line to get back inside for more!
So Joobin! Head over to Kingsland Road and restore your faith in Vietnamese cuisine.
Sông Quê Cafe
134 Kingsland Road
London E2 8DY