Sunday, 7 November 2010

Mien Tay - Battersea, London

Fine, I admit it ... I'm a terribly superstitious person. Little niggly things that I let influence my life (most of the time anyway) and one of them is Vietnamese restaurants in London. The last time I ventured over to the east end to sample a couple bowls of phở my dining companion and I ended up having a raging argument on the street after (yes ... one of those embarrassing ones and yes, please don't ask why). And the time before that ... well, let's just say my friend whom I dined with discovered a serious health problem that very day (of which she is only slowly recovering from - the health problem not the dining experience with me). I know it's silly to associate Vietnamese restaurants with bad events but like I said niggly little things influence my life .... alot.

Bánh Xèo - Mien Tay, Battersea

But last night I seemed oddly unperturbed by my little superstition and decided to try Mien Tay in Battersea (Lavender Hill, Clapham Junction .... take your pick - it seems like Asda has decided fire up the old Battersea/Lavender Hill/Clapham row. Hmph!). We were sat in a little corner in the low ceiling-ed lower level with what seemed like 2 large tables celebrating birthdays - excited chatter, sudden eruptions of alcohol fueled cackle and indecent displays of male flesh (yes, you read that right .... some of the guys at the next table thought it would be a hoot to drop their trousers). OK, so the restaurant is a little small and the service is a bit of a hit and miss but I didn't really drop by for the environment or the service.

Bánh Xèo - Mien Tay, Battersea

As usual, I ordered. I had to make sure it was boy friendly - anything deep fried and meat is probably best. Bánh xèo (£6.00) is always a good choice (as are spring rolls but that gets boring after awhile). I like my crepes crispy and Mien Tay delivered. The filling of sliced pork, prawns and beansprouts were a little bland but fine once dipped in the nước chấm.

Grilled Quail with Honey, Garlic and Spices - Mien Tay, Battersea

I was interested in tasting the quail with honey, garlic and spices (£4.50) since it was one of those dishes that I've heard so much talk about. Tender, succulent little bird served with squeeze of lime on the side. Nice honey and spice flavours coming through but in no way sickly sweet. Good order.

Stir Fried Minced Pork with Aubergine - Mien Tay, Battersea

The failure of the evening - aubergine with minced pork (£5.40). Perhaps the kitchen ran out of minced pork and substituted half of the mince with sliced pork instead? Or maybe half and half is what they usually do at Mien Tay. So ... the problem wasn't so much that the dish had minced and sliced pork in it but there was just no 'uumph' to the dish. Perhaps I've been spoilt by Chinese restaurants who make this dish a whole lot better with that almost compulsory wok hei flavour.

Deep Fried Sea Bream with Fish Sauce and Mango - Mien Tay, Battersea

My favourite of the evening had to be the deep fried sea bream with shredded green mango and nước chấm (£9.00). So simple and so tasty. I don't very often order fish when I dine out but as this came as a recommendation from the waiter I thought, "why not?". The fish was incredibly fresh (not event the slightest hint of fishiness around the stomach area) and I got the tail and head to suck the flesh off - my favourite bit :) The mango and the nước chấm added freshness and lightness to what would have been boring old fried fish.

I am really glad I shook off my superstition for the evening and wandered into Mien Tay. Truth be told, the other suggestion for dining venues was KFC ... so you can see how easy my decision was. An excellent choice if I can say so myself.

Mien Tay
180 Lavender Hill, Battersea, London SW11 5TQ

Mien Tay on Urbanspoon


Rafleesia said...

That omelette is the reason why eggs were created.

Luscious Temptations said...

Errr...what omelette? I didna have no omelette. Bánh xèo are crepes with no egg in them =)

Rafleesia said...

Really? They look so omeletty! Makin' me salivate for the fu yong dan at OK Porridge!

Luscious Temptations said...

Trust me that aint no omelette. If in doubt, check out what good ol wiki says about bánh xèo. It was ultra crispy too. Oil crisped batter ... yum!