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Authentic Vietnamese Food in London - Song Que [Restaurant Review]

Friday, 13 November 2009

Reviewed by The Wild boar

I was lurking about browsing through some blogs when I saw a review by Su Lin on Song Que and that got me thinking that I haven’t had Vietnamese food in a while. Ok yeah the PigPig did do pho for the Daring Cooks Challenge but I felt a bit unfulfilled from that…

Anyway I last visited this place years ago with a friend who was recommended it by his Vietnamese friend. Since then we’ve tried a couple more but we did think Song Que was the nicest so we thought it best to revisit it for our pho cravings.

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If you’ve been to Kingsland Road, you’ll understand instantly why it’s been dubbed the “Pho Mile”; the entire stretch has dozens of Vietnamese restaurants scattered throughout it and most of them seem to be doing pretty decent business. I think Song Que is one of the bigger restaurants there as it covers two shop-lots and the inside is surprisingly large. Arrived there 1.30pm on a Saturday and it was already nearly full with a fair number of Vietnamese families amongst the customers. The shop was quite light and spacious and the disposable paper tablecloths routinely changed after all the slurping was clean.

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First dish to arrive was the deep fried soft shell crab with salt and chilli. There was just enough chilli to give it a mild kick and adequate salt. It’s hard for me to resist this dish and Song Que delivers a perfectly acceptable if not particularly amazing version.

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Another appetizer we chose was beef wrapped in betel leaves, especially after the pictures we saw left the PigPig drooling. The beef on its own was already very delicious, being quite juicy and flavourful. Wrapping it with the lettuce and pickled carrots or daikon is even better, albeit a slightly messy affair.

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The PigPig naturally chose her pho with rare beef, tripe and tendons. It was a huge bowl with plenty of noodles at the bottom and goodies on the surface. The soup itself was very aromatic and tasty.

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For something different, I tried bun (rice vermicelli) with seafood in spicy soup (sorry, I forgot to take pictures of the menu so you’ll have to do with my made up names). The soup itself is also very fragrant with a strong prawn aroma and it was mildly spicy, just enough to make my tongue tingle. The seafood was the standard mix of prawns, scallops and lots of squid weren’t particularly amazing though.

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Altogether, the bill came up to £30 for two including a drink for us to share. Admittedly though, most people will be full with just one bowl of noodles and that will cost under £10 each as the pho is only about £6.50 or so.

Food – 6.5
Service – 4.0
Atmosphere – 4.5
Value – 7.0

Overall, tasty food at cheap prices. However, the pho, while tasty, wasn’t brilliant and the PigPig feels that Sydney still has the best pho ever (she’s also complaining about how she can’t find the tomato based pho outside Sydney too).

Would I eat here again? I’m finding it hard to find a reason not to.

Song Que
134 Kingsland Road,
E2 8DY
Tel: +44(0)20 7613 3222

Song Que on Urbanspoon

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