According to Google I am a serious source of information on banh mi on London. I hope all future searchers visit this article for they will learn of some of the most stunning banh mi known to man and beast (me). Banh Mi 11 simply blew my mind with the nigh-unparalleled brilliance of their Vietnamese baguettes.
Purely as an aside, as we walked through Soho to go to Berwick Street market it was nice to see that there are some really squalid areas surviving in central London. The mobile pizza oven stand looked fun but I bet it’s pants compared to the coruscating star of Banh Mi 11.
There is no need to mess around here: the three banh mi Editor Dani and I ordered would move the earth for anyone who likes their experiences pleasurable. If there are two of you going for lunch you order the same three as us. If it’s just you pleasuring yourself stick to the Imperial Barbecue and Fish Q banh mi, sit around for twenty minutes soaking up the atmosphere, then order the beef option. You just want your gratification varied and in excess, don’t you? You don’t? Then get the hell off my site, you pleasure-hating weirdo!
All three of those options were so good we could not choose a favourite, and they were all remarkably different. I’ll give you the highlights of each one before waxing lyrical about the general brilliance of them all.
The Fish Q, catfish fillet exquisitely spiced, has an amazingly meaty texture and the spice combination was a moving experience. With the Imperial Barbecue the pork was cooked in an unctuous barbecue sauce that caramelised to a stunning flavour – throbbingly good. The beef was cooked in a fruit barbecue sauce, hardly cooked at all most satisfyingly, and it was top quality animal.
All of these were served in brilliantly light and carbohydrate buzz-delivering bread. The vegetables were as good as vegetables can get and the chilli action just did it for me with wet celery, a flying helmet AND an egg whisk. The balance of flavours and textures was as close to perfect as one can get without getting spanked for being too clever by half.
So you get the idea that it was rather good. We’ll certainly be returning. Repeatedly. They are in Berwick Street in Soho during the week and at other places at the weekend, with the occasional pop-up elsewhere, so check their website for the latest intelligence.
Finally, you should patronise Banh Mi 11 because the owners are utterly lovely people who are totally committed to providing the very best Vietnamese food it is possible to eat. They gave up high-flying City jobs to do this and such dedication is spot on and deserves support. Your oral papillae will love you for it, I promise.
By the way, we ate these three banh mi right before visiting La Trompette for lunch. Well done us!