Frankly, when it comes to the capital and Vietnamese food, you’re spoilt for choice. The majority of Vietnamese citizens in the UK live in London, bringing a variety of delicious dishes and flavourful cuisine with them.
Whether you’re longing to try top notch bowls of pho, soft spring rolls or authentic crispy banh mi, you won’t be short of options. These are just five of our favourites (in no particular order) for getting a taste of Vietnam in the Big Smoke.
Bánh Bánh, Peckham
Run by five siblings inspired by the recipes of their grandmother, Bánh Bánh is a family affair. Their seasonal menu features street food favourites during the day and sharing plates in the evening – best eaten with a good glug of a cocktail containing home-made liqueurs.
Menu highlights: Prawn summer rolls
Address: 46 Peckham Rye, London, SE15 4JR
Sông Quê Café, Shoreditch
The Kingsland Road is known as ‘Pho Mile’ for good reason. It is chock full of brilliant Vietnamese restaurants, if the Sông Quê Café is busy you certainly won’t go hungry. Come for the food, not the interior design here – it’s more of a quick bites or large group affair than a Valentine’s Day hotspot.
Menu highlights: Rare-sliced steak pho
Address: 134 Kingsland Rd, London E2 8DY
Union Viet, Southwark
This great value, family-run café is a good lunch option when Pret just won’t do. Interiors are simple with white-washed walls and scrubbed oak tables. Unlike the oily pho of its competitors, Union Viet’s colourful offerings are zingy and flavourful, and have options for vegans. Try their pho challenge (if you dare), it’s only 2.25kg of pho, noodles and spring rolls, how hard can it be?
Menu highlights: Green papaya salad
Address: 120 Union St, London SE1 0FR
Viet Food, West End
Unlike our suggestions thus far, Viet Food is in the West End – the heart of the tourist action just a hop, skip and pirouette from Leicester Square. What it loses on East End cool, it makes up for inside with rustic interiors, hanging lanterns and earthenware crockery. A surprising Vietnamese gem in the hubbub of Chinatown.
Menu highlight: Crispy coconut calamari
Address: 34-36 Wardour St, London W1D 6QT
CôBa Restaurant, Holloway
“Another industrial inspired restaurant with white-washed walls and suspended filament bulbs?”, I hear you cry. CôBa isn’t one of those hidden gem hideouts tucked behind a scruffy facade. But the authentic dishes from Australian-Vietnamese Damon Bui – inspired by his mother’s cooking – are the real deal. Avoid going on a school night – the cocktails are nearly as delicious as the food!
Menu highlight: Barbecue lemongrass pork noodle salad
Address: 244 York Way, London N7 9AG