MIEN TAY: NEW OLD SCHOOL ON THE KINGSLAND ROAD
Supper last night with my new chum, wine guru, Ashika.
After a few too many reasonably mixed Martinis at The Hoxton Hotel, we swayed gently along Old St and up The Kingsland Road to Mien Tay a brand new Vietnamese restaurant on the site of the short lived Tang Loi
It may be only a few weeks old, but unless you knew, you would assume it was one of the old stalwarts of this street of popular cafes and on a quiet Sunday night there were already diners who, by their conversations with the owner, were repeat visitors.
The menu too is comfortable with many dishes reflecting a strong Chinese influence and all the regular favourites on offer. We began with a decent green papaya salad with shrimps which had the pre-requisite crunch and fire, followed by meaty grilled quail and a couple of soft shell crab on which the batter was a shade too thick and over powered the soft seafood inside. All fairly standard and all competently cooked.
It was good to see goat on the menu and a char grilled plateful spiked with fried garlic and chilli had us fighting over the last scraps of flesh before the best dish of the night was brought out, a whole deep fried sea bream served with lemon grass, chilli and ginger. The skin was crispy, the flesh moist and cooked to a perfect flake.
The bill for two came to £31 + tip for service which was friendly if a little eccentric. The charming waiter asking us if we wanted to taste the bottle of Alvarinho, which Ashika had bought at The Grocery next door. The owner was in full effect and very keen to know what people thought of the food.
Well, he doesn’t have too much to worry about. On this early showing, Mien Tay is a welcome if familiar addition to the Vietnamese neighbourhood.