What a miserable day it is. It was raining when I went to bed, raining when I woke up and was still raining when it got to lunch time. Normally in these circumstances, it would mean a trip up to the staff canteen for a bland sandwich / miniscule “subsidised” [insert protein] and [insert carb] dish. The breakfasts they serve are great, but the lunches are so depressing.
With Christmas looming, half the office seemed to already be on holiday – a sea of empty desks surrounded me. Safe in the knowledge that it would probably go unnoticed if I took an 80 minute lunch, I decided to go for a walk up to Kingsland Road. Viet Grill is part of the ever expanding empire that includes Keu! and the two Cay Tre restaurants (Hoxton & Soho). Since the last time I visited, they have had a massive refurbishment – very classy looking now, quite different from the usual bare-bones canteen look of most of the Vietnamese restaurants nearby.
As I sat at the bar waiting for my order, I watched very pretty dishes fly past, while engaging in a bit of banter with one of the waiters. I’m not sure if it is worth putting up a picture of the takeaway as it doesn’t do justice to the presentation if you are eating in, but what the hell.
As you can see, my career is not in photography. Anyhow, the Tiu Bowl lunch special was the normal ‘bun’ set-up – flat rice noodles, beansprouts a few pickled carrots and cucumber, doused in a great rendition of the obligatory nuoc mam sauce, something that if not right, can ruin the entire dish. This one came topped with tender roast pork, grilled beef and chicken, with a zingy lemongrass/lime sauce. They also took it upon themselves to drown the top layer in Sriracha – I love the stuff, but there is such a thing as too much! -and coriander. While it seemed to have been packed into the box, it was soon apparent that it was mainly padding (noodles and beansprouts) with a very tight-fisted (though tasty) portion of meat.
Mess Factor – 4 the nuoc mam – which is predominantly fish sauce – flicked all over the place
Value – 2 £7 is quite steep for a takeaway, especially given the pitiful portion of meat
Taste – 4 solid Vietnamese flavours
Speed – 2 should probably call ahead next time