Cafe East is still London’s best noodle bar

Cafe East has moved since we first [link2post id=”887″]reviewed it[/link2post]. It is now in a rather soulless shopping centre, and the cafe itself is more like a school dining room than the previous slightly squalid but charm-filled establishment. However, if you want quality noodles and Vietnamese food in London this is the destination of choice.

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We started off with both vegetable and meat-filled spring rolls. Both were pleasingly crisp and packed with flavour. Quite delicious. I preferred these to our other starter, bi cuon, or crispy pork-skin rolls. These tasted just fine but they were predictably on the chewy side.

One of our number chose a chicken curry, com curry, as his main dish. It had chicken, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots and coconut milk in it, quite like a Thai curry. The speed with which he necked it spoke volumes about the quality. I had a little taste and was most impressed.

Daniel and our other guest had two variations on the noodle dish bun bo hue. Daniel had raw beef with his and it was quite brilliant. The stock was rich and bursting with flavour, with thin slivers of beef and top-class rice noodles. The other variant was with prawns, which were in a prawn-tastic broth that I had to keep stealing spoonfuls of, so good was it.

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Naturally, I chose the best dish, pho dac biet, or beef, chicken and prawns in spicy broth with vermicelli. The pieces of meat and prawns pleased me no end but the spicy stock was even better; just spicy enough but not in the slightest painful. The vermicelli were all one could ask for of noodles. I was tickled pink.

Two courses each and drinks cost us £12 each, a bargain! The food is clearly superior, as is the dining experience, to other noodle bars such as horrible, horrible Wagamama’s. A simple but faultless meal that was keenly priced. I strongly urge you to visit.

Cafe East, 100 Redriff Road (Surrey Quays Shopping Centre), London SE16 7LH. Telephone 020 8691 7777.