Mundane banh mi at Cafe Bay

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As far as fashionable crazes go Elitistreview is generally so far behind that it is ahead; this must explain our passion for modish banh mi (Vietnamese baguettes). When noshing at [link2post id=”5135″]Viet-Van[/link2post] the other day its owner, David Parkin, suggested we head out to Denmark Hill to give Café Bay, [link2post id=”4989″]Banh Mi Bay’s[/link2post] sister restaurant, a try. As I had an appointment at the local nutcase hospital it seemed an ideal opportunity to drop by and sample their wares.

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Café Bay is definitely a more sedate operation than its central London sibling, when we walked in were we a tad disappointed to see it lacked the large charcoal grill present there. The range of banh mi on offer seemed similar, but I was further saddened they did not have any beer on offer (a sharpener is often a useful precursor to a psychiatric appointment). We ordered our sandwiches, sat down and hoped for good things.

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Sadly, the sandwiches were more than a shade anticlimactic. We ordered grilled beef and prawn banh mi which were not only niggardly in terms of protein content (the prawn sandwich markedly so) but also distinctly lacking the required volume of vegetable constituents. I never thought I’d be decrying a lack of vegetable matter in a meal but these are a necessary constituent in banh mi and so skimping on them is an unfortunate failing. The sandwiches were far from being unspeakable filth, but they clearly languished in a lesser, more lamentable quality bracket below the stars of the London scene.

When heading to Denmark Hill I usually arrive in time for a drink at The Phoenix pub next to the station – their excellent selection of beers and ciders makes it an approved stop for those with hospital-related business. Café Bay will only drag me away from their alcoholic charms if train timetable-induced loitering becomes distinctly wearisome.

Contact details: Cafe Bay, 75 Denmark Hill, London SE5 8RS 020 7703 2531