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Tay Do Cafe

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by Claire Chambers (subscribe)
Applied Linguistics graduate and freelance writer. Visit my twitter: @heyclairemarie
Published June 28th 2012
Not having had much experience with Vietnamese food before, when I was offered the opportunity to visit Tay Do Café in Kingsland Road, I was keen to go. And I'm glad I did.

Image by Thanh Nguyen - Courtesy of the Tay Do Cafe website.

Kingsland Road in East London has often been nicknamed Little Hanoi. This is due to the fact that when you walk down that road, there are far too many choices for Vietnamese food to choose from. There seems to be at least five different Vietnamese restaurants on each side of the road.

Tay Do Café is a small family restaurant which is hidden away, off the beaten track. Upon entering, I noted that it was quite a buzzing, lively place, not the type of place you would visit for a romantic date. As long as you don't mind being packed in with the other diners, you can enjoy the laid- back atmosphere. The restaurant also exudes a Vietnamese vibe with Vietnamese staff and oriental décor on the walls.

The menu seemed quite varied, with plenty of vegetarian and meat dishes. From what I've been informed, the food served at Tay Do is fairly basic Vietnamese food. The dishes were reasonably priced, especially for a restaurant in London. You can bring your own alcohol but are charged £1 for the privilege. This can be a downfall if you are not aware of this and turn up without any. In our case, we had to roam around the nearby off-licences looking for alcoholic drinks, which was not something we were keen on doing.

The food is best enjoyed if you try some of the different dishes. I had the Chicken with Mushrooms, Bamboo Shoots and Corn. Our table shared a few of the other dishes such as rice, noodles and spring rolls. As a result, we ended up with quite a substantial meal, but none of us felt bloated. The meal also got plus points for avoiding the pitfall of being too greasy. The food was a fusion of different styles and flavours and sampling a little bit of everything gave us more of a chance to try everything out.

Is Tay Do Café the best Vietnamese restaurant in London? Not quite, I'm sure if you were to look around; you would find a better one. But if you want somewhere cheap and comfortable to visit in order to enjoy no frills Vietnamese food, Tay Do Café is a good choice.
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Why? For no frills Vietnamese food.
When: Lunch and Dinner
Where: 65 Kingsland Road, E2 8AG
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