Mien Tay, Lavender HillPosted in Where to Eat & Drink Now
Having recently come back from Vietnam, when walking down Lavender Hill and seeing Mein Tay I had to drag my friend in so that I could show her what Vietnamese food is really like. All I hoped for was that this little restaurant was going to live up to my expectations and not put my friend off for life.
Mien Tay is a Vietnamese restaurant specialising in the cuisine of South Western Vietnam and all I can say to start is...whoa!!!!! The menu is overwhelmingly long and rather confusing if you do not know what to order. With my limited knowledge of Vietnamese food I decided to have a good look before calling over the waitress to help me dissect the menu and make some comprehensive dish decisions. One thing they did have was some unusual meats, like frogs legs, eel and goat which was exactly the type of food I ate in Vietnam.
So main course was an easy choice, as the only way to put this restaurant to the test was to order the Pho and see how good it really is. After much deliberation we caved in and asked the waitress to bring us a selection of starters, which she did with great enthusiasm, which kind of scared me, as I wasn't sure whether she was going to give me something really good or really bad. Luckily enough she did a good job. We have a Green papaya salad with dried chilli beef on top which was actually really refreshing, even if the jerky-like strips of beef reminded me of my old South African friend’s penchant for Biltong.
Next, the Banh Xeo came out - a crispy rice flour pancake coloured with turmeric and stuffed to bursting full of pork and beansprouts, with lettuce leaves and herbs for us to wrap and dip...this is the type of food that I like, where you get your hands mucky and really get involved with the food.
People at the table next to us had the main sharing platter, which looked amazing and was full of all different types of meats including; Prawn paste wrapped around sugar cane, spiced pork patties, chargrilled quail with honey and spices, summer rolls and spring rolls. If I wasn't waiting for my Pho then I think I would have actually just kept to the starters and given the main course a miss as my mouth was most certainly watering watching the two next to us, devour the sharing plate.
So finally my bowl of special Pho arrived which contained a combination of beef balls, brisket and tender, and rare slices of beef. The stock was beautifully flavoured and by adding the beansprouts, herbs and lime that came on the side, it was easily the best Pho I've had in London.
I never bother with deserts in Asian or Indian restaurants. I always feel that they are disappointing and ruin my delicious dinner. All in all, it was a fantastic meal and next time I am visiting my friend in the area I shall be sure to go back.
Top Tip: None of the dishes were more than £6, so don't feel guilty about over ordering and if there is left over food they will box it up so you can take it home.
180 Lavender Hill
London SW11 5TQ
020 7350 0721
Written by Natalie Nevard