When I first started my job, it was part of the drill to go on a series of lunches and coffees to get to know my new colleagues. During one of those lunches I was introduced to Viet Eat, a small humble restaurant tucked in between a series of shops crammed on Holborn’s Kingsway road – since then, I have never turned back. So here’s this week’s post, my love affair with one of my favourite Vietnamese restaurants – hope you enjoy!
Essie Eats x
Price Tag: £
Occasion: Quick catch up with friends, casual date night, taking out a new junior colleague
Location: London, Holborn station (48 Kingsway, London WC2B 6EP)
For two people, the total cost came up to £31.90, so roughly £15 each. This included three starters and two mains. For its location, it is good value for money, and as the portions are filling, one main is more than enough, which would cost you under £10. Also, if it’s your first time and you want to try more than one starter, then opt for one of the starter platters which are priced at £11.95-£13.95 for three starters, whereas, one starter is around £7.50.
We ordered the chilli and salt pepper squid (£7.95), prawns (£7.95) and spare ribs. (£7.50), or as I mentioned above, you can opt for the platter option with all three items (£13.95) which works out cheaper.
Every single bite was so full of flavour, from the garlic to the salt and chilli, the flavours were not too overpowering, it was just the right amount. The use of chopped chilli was a nice touch, which meant the chilli wasn’t incorporated into the actual dish, which makes it easier for those who don’t like chilli, to remove it. Also, the bed of spring onions and lettuce salad was a light and crisp compliment to the prawns and squid. There was so much flavour that I finished the lettuce salad, which I usually do not eat! Overall the texture for each item worked perfectly, the prawns were not over-cooked, they were moist and soft when you bite into them; the spare ribs were juicy, slightly crispy, whilst the calamari was not chewy, perfectly crispy and had a lightly seasoned salted batter.
If you only had enough money for one starter, then you have to go for the calamari. I can honestly say so far, this has to be the best calamari I have tasted. The restaurant uses thick cuts of calamari, and the batter is so crispy. If you’re not a fan of calamari then the prawns are a great option.
For the main, I always go for my favourite dish, Cơm rang đặc biệt, which is the Vietnamese special fried rice, with Vietnamese ham, salami and prawn (£7.95). What I enjoy most about this dish, is the texture of the rice, which is nice and moist, and I enjoy the variety of meats. The ham and salami brought the saltiness to the dish, whilst the prawns are very lightly seasoned. Another highlight of the dish was the apple and carrot pickled salad. It was such a small addition, but it brought a sweet and sharp flavour to the dish, which I enjoyed.
The second main is the Thịt lợn nướng mật ong, BBQ Honey Pork served with rice and lettuce salad (£8.95). If you love pork but want a light dinner or lunch, then this is a great option. I really enjoyed the rice, it was sticky rice done very well as it was so soft and complimented the flavour of the pork. The sticky pork was tasty, it was seasoned very well and the pork was caramelised and slightly smokey.
This is a lovely laid back spot, perfect for catch-ups or for first time meetings or a quick date night. If you’re looking for a place to take a new colleague for lunch, I feel this is a good option as it has a very relaxed atmosphere and the small size and simple décor can help your colleague to relax. As it’s such a popular restaurant and small in size, lunch times (between 12-2pm) tend to get very busy, however, I have never had to wait for more than ten minutes to get a seat.
For me, the food is impressive, every dish I have tried so far has been a positive experience, and consistent in taste. If you’re looking for a restaurant with just great food, with no fuss or fine dining – then this is a great and cheaper option in the Central London area.