Husband and wife team Chef Thuy Pham-Kelly and hubby Dave Kelly, launched Little Viet Kitchen in the summer of 2015, through the success of their weekly Saturday supper club, which gave guests a 10-course tasting menu inspired by Ms Pham-Kelly’s childhood in Vietnam. The story in itself is nice and I was sucker punched into going through seeing their delectable images on Instagram – the power of social media prevailed. As you sit slurping pho and gorge on other Vietnamese treats, you sit on pastel grey chairs and wooden topped tables. There is a bar for lingering too where vino can be sipped and more slurping can take place. I came for a night out after an exemplary lunch at the old Smoking Goat with uni friends.
The wine we loved, so good we ordered two.
Spiced prawn crackers £2.50.
Eating soft shell crab is hands down where I’d like to play, they’re intensely enjoyable and where they do it good, you’ll find me there. How they do it here though, in tempura form £12.50 (for 2), has got a lot to be desired as the little critters were dry and insipid. It was almost like their internal sweetness, guts and all were extracted out of them. Not even the fish sauce dip that came with them could salvage the situation.
Butterfly prawns £8.50 lacked that inherit natural sweetness and although they had the pert qualities that we all love in prawns, the flavour or lack of flavour in this instance just didn’t garner my attention.
Organic duck with pea shoot salad £17.50 came with slithers of pink breast of the animal and were just too easy to eat. Texture came from the crushed pistachios and the push of salinity came from fish sauce.
Duck breast curry £17.50 came with lashings of spiced coconut and lemon grass broth, but it failed to make the impact we craved as we just couldn’t gel with the tepid liquid and soggy noodles. Don’t get me started on the wishy-washy flavour either! It was a disappointment as much I wanted to love it.
Pho dac biet £19 was a combination of beef parts, in this case beef balls (no not testicles) and slow cooked short rib nestling on rice noodles in bone broth. The broth lacked body and seasoning, in the same vein as the previous dish too, it came out tepid.
The pork belly noodle bowl £19, came with a melange of tempura vegetables, a tempura runny egg and a cold noodle salad amped with vinegar and fish sauce. The dish is so synonymous of the Vietnamese cooking that I like and just so happened to be the favourite of the mains.
To end the meal we had this beautifully crafted coconut cheesecake which was simply a dream to eat, we’re all glad the meal ended on a sweet note – all puns are intended.
When did I go? Nov 2016
The damage: Expect to pay £50 per head with wine
The good: The desert was the shining moment.
The bad: The prevalent lack of seasoning and lukewarm noodle bowls were howlers that gave us no kicks or happy mouth moments. Most of what we had tasted like something from the lunch shift that had their moment 8 hours previously. I reckon I went on a bad day.
Would I go again? Still deciding..
Address: 2 Chapel Market, London N1 9EZ