Fame that lives..
I have heard that years ago many would travel to Kingsland Road for properly authentic Vietnamese treats at Song Que. The fame. Yes. I did see many framed accolades of cut-out newspaper articles, and judging from the late night buzz I encountered on my most recent visit, the Song Que fame still lives.
The menu was vast. Very rarely did the price per dish rise above a tenner. Prawn Paste in Sugar Cane (£6.90) served with vermicelli, lettuce and mint had delicious sweetness from the prawn paste itself and the cane that leaked intense juice. Personally I would have loved the paste to have a more lively, springy texture. Both pieces were a little deflated. The nuoc cham dressing – sugar, fish sauce, vinegar – boast a good depth of acidity, acidity and pungent salty-ness. Vietnamese Pancake – Banh Xeo (£8) was tumeric-infused and wafer-like, within which was contained a heap of sauteed chicken strips, prawns and beansprouts. The pancake was crispy in places but I did come across occasional soggy bits. The filling retained some greasy taste but was pleasantly undercut by the accompanying nuoc cham dressing. The Bun of Grilled Pork and Spring Rolls (£7.20) was likeable but did not outdo a similar version at Viet as it could benefit from some refreshing vegetable crunch. That said, I found heavenly perfume of charcoal on tenderised pork, flaky sweetness from fried shallots, and crispy-ness from the spring rolls enough reasons to mop the bowl up. Still, the unmissable dish for me was Bun Bo Hue (£7.60), a spicy beef noodle soup with a generous topping of melting-in-my-mouth beef flank and meaty pork sausage slices. The vermicelli had a great bouncy texture; the broth was pleasantly infused with lime, onion, chilli and lemongrass and had a good clarity of bonemarrow taste and shiny texture; the assortment of mint on the side helped cool the palate down a little. That’s it. I could have gone for desserts (the “3-coloured dessert” looked amazing, though I saw it after I paid the bill!!).
By all means, I enjoyed my meal at Song Que. Bustling. Mirthful. Loud. A great ambiance restaurant. The food was authentic, good, reasonable, but not mind-blowing.
134 Kingsland Road
Tel. 020 7613 3222