The place to be
The search for a decent Vietnamese restaurant is a frustrating experience. Walking through the wind-swept stretch of Kingsland Road, with chain after chain of Vietnamese eateries vying for attention, I couldn’t help but feel spoilt for choice in some ways.
Toward the far end of the street is the aptly named That Vietnamese Place, a humble, tiny restaurant sandwiched between the established Loong Kee Cafe and Time Out favourites, Song Que.
That Vietnamese Place is the real deal. It sticks to the authentic Northern Vietnamese cuisine that sets it apart from fellow native restaurants that mainly serve Southern Vietnamese fare.
Further setting it apart from the rest, That Vietnamese Place is a modest space compared to its adjacent restaurants. It occupies a small room clustered with wooden tables and chairs and the walls are adorned with framed pictures of Vietnam.
It gives off a cosy and relaxed atmosphere best suited to celebrations. The service is prompt and the staff are attentive, professional and welcoming.
The menu boasts a varied selection of the quintessential Northern Vietnamese cuisine. Starter-wise, the salad mixed with prawn and papaya or the crispy Vietnamese spring rolls are strongly recommended.
Moving on to the main course, the signature Hanoi grilled fish and barbecued beef wrapped in rice paper are to die for.
As the grilled fish is delivered to the table, an irresistible whiff saturates the air. The fish itself is well seasoned and remained tender from the first to last bite. For the barbecued beef, the waiter helpfully offers a “crash course” on the wrap-and-roll techniques, which turned out to be an experience in its own.
Finish off with a cup of Vietnamese brewed coffee and you’re ready to leave feeling full and more than satisfied.
Overall, That Vietnamese Place offers a wallet-friendly meal for three costing under £40. It’s also noteworthy that it is not as busy as the other restaurants, but it is important to pre-book a table at weekends.
That Vietnamese Place, 134A Kingsland Road, London E2 8DY. To book, call 020 7729 4843.