Tag Archive: informal dining


In May, when we were in London, attending a small gig at the Dublin Castle venue in Camden, Nom-R half-remembered a Vietnamese place that she had been to years before.

Viet-Anh Cafe is located minutes from Camden Tube Station, on Parkway. ┬áIt has seating for approximately 20 – 25 people, with a few more small tables outside. It is as the name suggests, a diner-style cafe rather than a restaurant, and though it is amid a sea of more expensive and more elaborate Asian and Italian restaurants, Viet-Anh Cafe stood out to us as a place to go.

The menu is quite extensive, with the option of many traditional Vietnamese and Asian dishes. The food was reasonably priced and the service was extremely quick. The servers were friendly and competent, and our orders were taken almost immediately. Within ten minutes of ordering, our food was being served. It was obviously freshly prepared and steaming hot.

Nom-R had a starter of Vietnamese style barbeque pork skewers and a main course of squid and aubergine in a spicy tomato sauce. The pork skewers were crispy and full of flavour, and the squid was perfectly cooked, with a bit of a bite to it. Nom-J had deep fried prawns wrapped in parcels, like spring rolls, for starters, and had the sizzling beef satay with green and red peppers for her main. The prawns were perfect, served hot with a hot and sour dipping sauce, as were the pork skewers. Both meals came with the option of boiled or egg fried rice, or noodles, as did most of the dishes on the menu.

The only criticisms we have of the cafe was that they did not offer you forks to eat with, which made the skewers difficult to eat neatly, and that the satay sauce was slightly mild, though Nom-J freely admits that she may just be used to a stronger satay sauce from Chinese restaurants.

We would definitely recommend this cafe to others, and would have no problem going back to eat there again.

We give it 4.5 out of five stars.

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We discovered Metrodeco late in 2009, when they introduced themselves on Nom-R’s personal Twitter. It was a sign of both their impressive networking and self-promotion skills, and their remarkable friendliness.

The salon itself is entirely glass fronted on two sides, allowing for a particularly pleasant airiness, which prevents the forest of mismatched antique furniture – all of which is available to buy, if you take a particular fancy to the naked diver sculpture or the artdeco chandeliers – from becoming too dark or claustrophobic.

Key to Metrodeco’s menu is their huge range of teas and infusions – from their eponymously titled ‘Metrodeco Classic’, a blend of black teas from India and Sri Lanka, to more adventurous blends, such as the Graham Greene & Chocolate, a green tea with a surreal chocolatey aroma, or Some Like It Hot (and Cold!) which has noticeable kick of chilli and mint.

Our favourites, however, are unquestionably the Masala Chai Express – a warm and spicy tea served with milk – and the stunningly pretty Parisian Floral Calm, served in a glass teapot to take advantage of the delicate chamomile and rose petals which make up the infusion.

It is not just the teas which stand out at Metrodeco, however. The cakes, made by a local baker behind the soon-opening Treacle & Co, are astonishing. From a multi-layered Victoria sponge, topped with rosewater icing, to a rich and creamy beetroot and chocolate or a gluten-free passion fruit and pineapple, all cakes at the salon are hand-cut in enormous slices. Our favourite, as peculiar as the combination sounds, is the lime and courgette, topped with crushed pistachios. Light, refreshing and absolutely perfect with a pot of tea.

But Metrodeco doesn’t restrict itself to tea and cake. Aside from its cream teas it also offers a selection of dainty sandwiches, from salmon, cream cheese and cucumber to a simple egg mayonnaise with cress, and more recent additions including soups and light lunches.

Tucked away on Upper St. James Street in Kemptown, running parallel to Marine Parade and the sea, it is an ideal spot for lunch during a shopping day or an escape from the fried goods down on the seafront. We can’t recommend Metrodeco highly enough, so you’ll just have to try it for yourselves.

We give Metrodeco an uncontested 5/5 stars.

www.metro-deco.com

Maggie Morgan – 07878 508719
Helen Wilkinson – 07956 978115