Song Que Cafe

(The Song Que Cafe frontage, a bright green reference in the street-scape)

Today I am going to share a well-kept secret for the Londoners in Kingsland Road.

Song Que Cafe is a low key Vietnamese restaurant situated in a corner between one of the arteries of the  East of London, Kingsland Road, and quieter Cremer street. Nearby one of the most beautify museums in London , The Geffrye Museum.

The Geffrye Museum is a museum dedicated to the evolution of British homes from the point of view of interior design. If you want to know what it would have been like to live at key stages of British history, do visit because.

Tip: Currently, and until the 29th of June, you will also find the exhibition “Photographing the mid-century Home” by photographer John Pantlin which are part of the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) collection. To see more on the collection, follow this link.

Going back to the business that brought me to you today : food.

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(Band xeo kit)

We are regulars at this restaurant and there is a routine that we always follow. Our started must be the house pancake o bang xeo to share. Which is a rice flour pancake that contains  mixture of prawns, pork, beans sprouts and onion, and it is accompanied by a variety of leaves ( mint, shiso and lettuce) and a light vinaigrette.

The idea is that you bring the ingredients together in a mouthful to which each contributes in terms of texture, freshness and flavour.

Generally speaking, we then follow with the mains.

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(Spicy seafood ho-fun)

A seafood ho-fun stair fry is generally one of the choices, however, on our last visit, we went for the spicy seafood ho-fun soup which came withe a side dish full of delicious ingredients that included beans spreads, holy basil and freshly cut chilli.

It was wonderfully fresh. In south east Asian food the freshness of the ingredients is what it makes the difference between a good dish and an average one, and this one was a very delicious one indeed.

The soup base or stock  is also something that determines the success of such a dish. In fact, in the whole of Asia, this is the ingredient that differentiates one restaurants from the next , and therefore the unique selling point that becomes a closely guarded secret from one generation to the next.

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(Chargrilled & shredded pork with spring rolls and rice vermicelli )

Another favourite of ours, and in fact , a signature dish for this restaurant is the chargrilled & shredded pork with spring rolls and rice vermicelli. It is a great main to share and gives you an opportunity to enjoy a variety of flavours and textures that showcase the skills of the team at the kitchen .

It is accompanied by the traditional vinaigrette and contains fresh ingredients cooked with amazing precision to enhance each one of the flavours.

(I have not mentioned the wines, but the house white, a sharp dry Gascogne wine  works perfectly with all of the white meats and seafood dishes)

Finally desert… (once more, excuse my photographs as they do not do justice to what you will find at the restaurant)

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(Three colour desert, Che ba Mau)

Coconut, agar agar green jelly noodles and sweet mung beans topped up with ice are the ingredients behind this amazing desert. I realise that it is not as beautifully looking as other equivalent Asian alternatives, but it is delicious, and I very much recommend you tried it… Come to think about it, I should write a post on Asiatic deserts in London which are worth trying…

Near by the Song Que cafe, there are another amazing places that you may want to visit:

On saturdays, make sure you visit Flowers Gallery, a few doors down, which currently shows the riveting work of Jason Larkin under the title “Tales from the City of Gold” which explores the periphery of the mining mecca.

On Sundays, the Columbia Road flower market , of course, and the galleries and market along Bricklane

Generally, walking south side of Kingsland road on the way to Shoreditch high street you will find a great selection of independent shops and bars that, on their own, are also worth visiting.

And if you are looking for truly cool and want a surprise, visit Calvert Avenue and  Redchurch Street.

Photographs by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate (Apologies but I only had my phone with me)
Text by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate

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