Mien tay....my often foodie in crime came back one day gushing about the vietnamese cuisine he had at Mien Tay in Battersea. If there is one thing that is not easy to find in London is good cheap quality eating places. Since Viet is his area of expertise, I definitely placed a permanent note in my head.
Weeks later I had to organise a birthday dinner and what better place than Mien Tay as I have been given free reign to pick a place.
The large party of ten arrived means we can have more variety of selections to try; and lots of dishes we did order.
This was the first to arrive. Clean,crisp and crunchy; these spring rolls are definitely tasty.
Vegetarian spring rolls £3.50
Equally delectable for the fried food lovers.
Crispy pancake with tofu, onion and beansprout £5.50
This was as good as the ones I had when in HCM city. Fried batter with vegetables wrapped in lettuce, the crispness and refreshing taste of the lettuce leaves cuts through the fattiness and oiliness of fried pancake. A bit of naughty and nice to feel less guilty!
Chargrilled minced beef in wild betel leaves £5.50
This next one is one of my favourites and I always eat this at any opportunity in HCM city. The added flavour of the char with the juicy beef wrapped in betel leaves just works. Another dish which you wrapped the meat in various greens and lettuce to eat it. As good as what I had in it's native country.
Chargrilled prawn wrapped around sugarcane £5.50
Another favourite of mine, as you noticed by now I ordered many of my favourites! I love eating the succulent prawn paste which has been chargrilled combined with the sweet sugarcane juices. I love just chewing on the sugarcane sticks after. Reminds me of the sugarcane sticks that I used to eat from grandma's garden.
Lotus root salad with prawns & pork £5.50
I feel in love with the lotus root salad when I was introduced to it in HCM city. The pickled lotus stems against a bed of leaves is just the right thing for summer, it was just the thing to have in the hot and humid Vietnam. This is as close to the real Mccoy that I have tasted in London.
Lotus root salad with tofu £5.50
Vegetarians, do not fear, you are covered with the tofu version of this lotus root salad. As you will noticed in the menu selections, we had to cater for the non-pork eater as well as a non-beef eater in the party.
Stir fried tofu with tamarind sauce £5
This was sticky sweet. Not what I expected as isn't tamarind supposed to be sour?
Chargrilled chicken with honey and spice £5.40
Where was the honey and spice? The chicken wasn't entirely bland but it lack that flavour punch.
The sea bass was fried, it was definitely crispy. In fact I think it was fried to the perfect crispness. It also has a lot of tiny bones so do beware. Other than the perfect crispiness texture, It was quite ordinary tastewise. A tad disappointed. Was later told by foodie in crime that I ordered the wrong fish, I should be ordering the deep-fried sea bream with fish sauce and mango.
Beef steak on salad £5.50
Juicy bites of beef steaks on a bed of greens and some chillies to spice it up, this was good.
Lamb with Ginger and spring onions £5.50
This was quite ordinary, reminiscent of Chinese cuisine. This was the waiter's choice. Sigh!
Stir-fried Morning glory "Ung Choy" with garlic £5
I've always liked morning glory. It has the crispy crunchy texture for a vegetable and pairs well with spicy ingredients like belacan. This from Mien Tay is standard fare and sometimes you just want good old fashion staples.
The dinner party were more impressed with the starters which were all really tasty while the mains lack the punch somewhat. However, the bill came up to £16 per person and judging by the amount of food we had; Mien Tay is definitely a good quality cheap eats place.
Next time, I am ordering that mango fish!
Mien Tay has 2 branches but the one I went to is at Battersea.
Mien Tay, 180 Lavender Hill, Wandsworth, SW11 1www.mientay.co.uk