There are certain cuisines I have never been particularly tempted to try and Vietnamese until last Friday was one of them. Why? Well underwhelming experiences with Thai food ( even at the apparently very good Busaba Eathai chain) and a strong dislike of lemongrass, coconut in savoury food and anything with coriander didn't lent itself to give Vietnamese a go. The irony of course is that living at the Shoreditch end of Kingsland Road I have the finest and most authentic Vietnamese food in London neatly lined up in the space of half a mile right outside my house. Walking past these every day after work slowly edged on my foodie curiosity and with a little nudge by friend who had only recently discovered and fallen in love with Vietnamese food herself we braved the 2 minute walk, Cava in hand, to try Long Kee, maybe not the most famous on the "Pho Mile" but a restaurant I had heard many good things about from several friends. The Cava was of course in hand as like most Vietnamese on the road Long Kee is BYO which for someone that can happily drink a £5 bottle of Rose is great news as I always have my issues with a restaurant charging extortionate prices for house wines.
The menu is massive and offers a little bit of everything, a theme that we wanted to continue in ordering quite a feast. For starters we shared the mixed seafood platter, fresh spring rolls and deep fried prawns accompanied by a fragrant salad that at once won us over with its freshness. I then opted for juicy duck breast in a fragrant sauce ( not quite sure of the exact name of the dish anymore) and shared a side of noodles and wonderfully steamed vegetables as side dishes while my friend enjoyed her mixed meat on rice. Everything tasted fresh and wasn't at all what I had expected in the best of ways. We left completely stuffed yet still spent just under £18 a head and were able to do so in an authentic, unpretentious environment whilst sipping our M&S cava! This may have been my first experience with Vietnamese food but it will definitely not be the last as I am sure to make my way around the Pho mile to see what else it has to offer!
134G Kingsland Road