100 Redriff Road, SE16 7HL
Being in the Surrey Quays area on Sunday we wondered what we could eat for lunch, when J. remembered that Cafe East was nearby - so we went to try it out. Cafe East is a Vietnamese restaurant that moved to the Surrey Quays area from Deptford, and even in the middle of Sunday afternoon was fairly busy. In appearance a bit spartan and functional, but what it lacked in decor and ambiance it made up for in food!
Their menu offered a good range of pho, rice and noodle dishes all at really reasonable prices (less than £8 for a dish).
|Pho Tai Chin|
So we ordered and after a little wait (maybe a bit long compared to some other Vietnamese places) the first dish arrived, the 'Pho Tai Chin' (£7.50). This is one of their specialties - a hot and spicy Vietnamese soup (you can choose the level of spice you want) with a mixture of well-cooked and rare beef over ho fun noodles. It was a delicious soup, deep in flavour with abundant overtones of lemongrass.
|Bun Cha Nem Thit Nuong|
Next to arrive from the kitchen was the 'Bun Cha Nem Thit Nuong' (£6.50), a classic Vietnamese noodle salad. A great dish, the kind I relish enjoy, possessing great flavour and freshness. Vermicelli noodles, lettuce, cucumber, carrot and a heap of chopped peanuts formed the base of the salad, while the lemongrass pork was extremely tender and tasty. The spring roll was also crisp and not too greasy, but my favourite element of the dish is always the combination of sweet chilli vinaigrette, coriander and mint. An amazing balance of flavours, and also light and fresh on the palate - it was the perfect contrast to the powerful pho. Also, during the meal we also had a Vietnamese iced coffee, 'Cafe Da' (£3.20, not pictured) - strong and sweet.
My only problem with the restaurant was the price of the soft drinks compared to the that of the food, and the fact they proudly state that 'they do not serve tap water' - definitely the only negative though.
Overall a great late lunch, coming in at just £17.20 for two people, if you're in the area definitely a place to try.