Kingsland Road is known for its Vietnamese cuisine. Every other shop is a cafe, restaurant or supermarket.
I've been meaning to explore the road for a while, and after wandering down the canal path, was happy to finally tick it off my list!
Having no idea which to choose, we decided on one of the cafes over the restaurants- and picked the smallest, most understated we could find; Tay Do.
The inside was a lot more presentable than out, shiny long tables neatly laid and adorned with purple flowers against bright green walls were hidden behind windows boarded over with planks. Don't be put off!
We didn't look at the menu long, having already decided on Vietnamese Pancakes. We ordered these with sides of aubergine in garlic sauce and Pak Choi.
The menu was farily typical (spring rolls, bowls of noodle soup and spicy squid) but extensive and genuine.
Vietnamese pancakes (Banh Xeo- 'sizzling cake') are crispy savoury pancakes made with rice flour, water and turmeric, and when ours arrived, they didn't disappoint. Our large, crispy pancake was filled with chicken, prawns and bean sprouts, accompanied by lettuce, mint and coriander.
Despite the pancake being battered, the dish was light and fragrant with the unfried vegetables and mint.
The aubergine was not fried and boiled like many Chinese restaurants, but had an intense, smokey flavour familiar from my experiences of Lebanese cooking and chargrilled within it's skin until the flesh is soft.
Overall, the dishes were large, filling and enjoyable, the cafe simple, quiet and quality. But more importantly- three pancakes, two side dishes and a pot of green tea came to £33.50- just over £10 each for a full meal. There aren't many places you can do better than that!
So next time you're half way down Kingsland Road and already overwhelmed by the choice- keep Tay Do in mind!
60 Kingsland Road,
020 7739 0966