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Mien Tay Battersea Review

Mien Tay is packed pretty much every night of the week. That’s saying something for a restaurant that only accepts cash, has rushed, bordering on rude service, no PR or meal deals and that sits on a high street notorious for its terrible eateries. So why the crowds? The Food!

Mien Tay Battersea is the offshoot of the equally successful Vietnamese restaurant of the same name in Shoreditch. They serve down to earth, traditional South West Vietnamese food and they do it well. We have eaten there on several occasions now and every time the food has been delicious. The first time I was slightly late for a 7:30 booking and the manager was not happy at all, threatening to kick my Fiancé out if I didn’t show soon. You would think after such an abrupt beginning we would harbour ill will, but once the Fried Crispy Sea Bream with Lemongrass & Chilli arrived all was forgotten. The bream comes whole, covered in spring onions, coriander, lemongrass and chilli and every mouthful is exciting, even the bones are worth chewing on.

The menu at Mien Tay is long, with a great selection of starters, Pho and Bun (noodle soups), seafood, pork, chicken, beef, duck, goat and even frogs and eel. The most talked about starter here is the quail. We have had it on every occasion and its worth going back for alone. £6 gets you get a whole spatchcocked bird chargrilled with honey, garlic and spices. The flavour of the garlic and spices permeates the whole bird and you find yourself cleaning the bones and eyeing off any left on your dining companions plate! I highly recommend getting one all to yourself, far too good to share. It’s served (as are most dishes here) with a dressing of sliced chillies, coriander and some pickled vegetables which work well with the flavour of the bird.

On our most recent trip we decided to try a selection of starters and ordered the quail, Mien Tay Spicy Soft Shell Crab, Prawn Fresh Roll and the Salt and Pepper Squid. The rolls were  expertly made with a vibrant filling of fresh coriander thin noodles and juicy prawns. They were served with a delicious (on its own) satay sauce but we would have preferred a fresher, more vibrant accompaniment, maybe with some spice.

Soft shell crab is one of my Fiancé’s favourites and Mien Tay do a very good version, coated in a heavy, spicy batter you get some really large crabs for the price. The standout (after the quail) for me though is the squid. Every Asian restaurant in London does a Salt and Pepper squid and 90% of the time it is tough and chewy with not enough salt or pepper. Mien Tay’s batter is light and grease free with a huge kick of seasoning. It also comes dressed with punchy slices of chilli and a small pile of mixed salt and pepper which adds even more kick to the flavour.

Even after several visits we have yet to break the surface of the extensive menu. The Pho is supposed to be amazing and at £6 a bowl, great value. AA Gill from the Sunday Times called it ‘possibly the best in the UK’ which is high praise indeed. Dinner for two here with a few beers or a bottle of wine (the wine list is very well priced and has been matched to the dishes) usually comes in at under £40, which is incredible. The whole fried Bream for £9 (up from less than £8 a year ago) could sell for double and would still be well worth it, actually this applies to most of the menu.

We will be back very soon even if it’s just for the quail!

Mien Tay is located at 180 Lavender Hill Battersea, up until very recently they had BYO although I’m not sure if that still applies with the new wine men in place now. They also only take cash so come equipped to save the embarrassment of having to run down the street to the ATM (which I have done 3 times now!)

Reviewed by Mise En Place Hospitality Recruitment

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One Response to “Mien Tay Battersea Review”

  1. Sua Ong Chua says:

    Mien Tay was quick to become a favourite, standing out from the plentitude of Vietnamese restaurants on Kingsland road. The service is always friendly, and although the surroundings are simple, I personally prefer it that way.
    Food-wise, the Mien Tay spring rolls are delicious and so are the summer rolls with peanut sauce (try the shrimp). The seafood Pho and the prawn Bun (Rice Vermicelli with Stir-fried Prawns, Chilli & Lemongrass) are perfect, a good measure of the quality of a Vietnamese restaurant.

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