Monday, 18 May 2009

Song Que Vietnamese Restaurant

My friends Mike and Carmel for a joint birthday booked a table for seventeen of us at Song Que on Kingsland Road, just above Shoreditch. It's suppose to be a good restaurant, it gets all good reviews and whatever but if you do go prepare yourself for the rushed service.

I understand that at seventeen people we did have the biggest table at the restaurant but the feeling that they want to serve you, take your money and then get the table ready for the next customers is apparent before you've even sat down. This is because of the panic and urgency of the waiting staff which reached it's peak when one of the waiters got an angry little tantrum on when someone asked for more time before choosing their meal from the menu. The waiters calmed down once we ordered our mains and from that moment on the atmosphere was fine. We were well behaved and did actually eat, pay and leave in our allocated two hour window.

The food was mostly good here is some of it.

I got the Soft Shell Crabs for my starter and they were pretty fucking decent. They are battered and fried with a burning hit of chilli. I've had the same thing at Ping Pong but their crabs are small, expensive and tame. You only get two sets of legs at Ping Pong at Song Que however you get a decent portion size that contains all the whole bodies of a few crabs chopped and put in a much spicier batter. You can tell from the texture if you've got a chewy set of legs or a squishy centered, seaside flavoured bit of body. If you were wondering yes you eat the shell cos it's soft, hence the name.

Here's some vegetable spring rolls that Mathilde had. They were good, not too much bean shoot but I will say the batter was a bit KFC.

For my main I got Fresh Water Eels. They were battered and fried with lemongrass, loads of chilli, and some funnily chopped large chunks of onion. If you look at the photo above you can see the battered things are the bits of eel.

They were good. I've never had eel before but they had loads of tiny soft bones and the meat was like white fish but denser with a more oily flavour. I think the onion was a bit undercooked and there was so much of it I think it was being used as a filler.

Birthday boy Mike had this Beef and Tripe Noodle Soup. I didn't taste any but he tells me it was good. Apparently that's the meal all the reviewers like.

There was also a nice selection of condiments on the table. I'm a fan of the condiment. You've got chilli flakes in oil, soy sauce, chilli sauce, hoisin sauce and a fish sauce which was similar to Thai nam pla except you could actually sniff and taste a bit of it without vomiting.

To go with my meal I had a few bottles of imported Vietnamese beer Halida and it was good to see that the other more well known Asian beers they sell are also the real thing, imported from Asia and not brewed under license in the midlands.

All in all it was a good meal and pretty cheap too. We all paid £21 each, almost all of us had a starter, two drinks and that included a decent tip.

Dom chose exactly the same meal as me so here's a picture of him stuffing a chunk of battered crab down his throat.

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