01 Jul The Little Viet Kitchen
The Little Viet Kitchen has been on my radar for quite some time now. I follow chef and owner Thuy Diem Pham on Instagram where her pictures of Vietnamese style caramelised tiger prawns, organic beef pho and hu tieu pork and seafood noodle soup are sure to get your stomach growling with a sense of urgency!
There are a variety of smaller sharing plates and larger mains as well as the special Pho (8 hour beef broth alert!) and variants of lemongrass coconut curry. We decided to go for three small, one large plus a portion of steamed rice and rice noodles. Both came topped with some supremely crispy onions and finely shredded fresh spring onions. The first batch to arrive included pan tossed aubergine in a glazed soya sauce – soft, sweet aubergine crescents in a dark sauce with sliced red chillies for a bit of warmth. It might look unobtrusive but this was a favourite at our table! Crab, papaya and daikon salad freshened up our palettes with its fruity, slightly sour tamarind notes. I loved the lemongrass chicken skewers too, again with a tamarind sauce but this time it was sticky and had more of a play between sweet and sour.
The day’s special was a lamb coconut curry – tender, spoon-cuttable lamb drenched in a thick coconut sauce with chillies, spring onions, more of the crispy onions and mint leaves on the side. The sauce is rich and flavourful, not overly spiced but works well with the unctious meat. Definitely one to re-order, if the lamb is not available then the slow braised beef short rib would do the job just as nicely!
For dessert, as they’d run out of cheesecake we decided to share the fried banana with sticky rice. In my mind I thought it would be like a banana fritter on top of sticky rice cooked in coconut milk. However it turned out the banana was coated with a layer of what we thought was red bean, next rice and then deep fried. Desiccated coconut and a little condensed milk garnished the plate. We were so full by this point and this dish is so dense, we couldn’t finish it! I did feel this was a little let down, even as a substitute pudding, but I’m not a heavy dessert fan. Perhaps the ice cream mochi would have been a better choice. Next time!
I’m glad I finally made it to the Little Viet Kitchen. I’ve been especially curious since they won the 2019 Golden Chopstick Award for Best Restaurant in England – no mean feat! I noticed they do their own gin infusions (lemongrass, ginger etc) which would be fun for a unique drink. It’s not cheap but neither is it off the charts so you could treat yourself without feeling too guilty about it. Plus the quality is fantastic. Standout dishes for me were the aubergine and the lamb – outstanding! Next time I’m 100% trying the famous pho. Going as a group is ideal for sharing plates and therefore trying more dishes so find some friends and get yourselves over there with immediacy 😀
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Nearest venues: Sadler’s Wells, Angel Studios
Total receipt (2 people): £57.40
1x lemongrass chicken 8.5
1x aubergine 7.5
1x crab salad 10.5
1x rice 3
1x rice noodle 3
1x lamb curry 18
1x banana 6
1x suggested charity donation (planting trees) 0.9
Rating: 8.5/10 Vibrant food which will make you smile 😊