Shoreditch is home of many things: bars galore, bearded hipsters and, most tempting of all, ‘pho mile’. The so-called stretch of Kingsland Road between Shoreditch and Hoxton boasts a range of Vietnamese restaurants and supermarkets, and is a great spot for a flavoursome lunch or dinner. One such restaurant along ‘pho mile’ is Viet Grill, which brings together traditional dishes and locally sourced ingredients. Spread across two floors, Viet Grill is pretty casual, but don’t be fooled by its laid-back ways: the food is something really special.
What can you expect at Viet Grill?
Flavour is king at Viet Grill, from the broths to the beer. You can expect a throughly tasty meal from start to finish, whether you pop in for a quick lunch on your own, or a leisurely dinner with the whole family; we saw all types of groups of diners on our visit, and it was clear that the spot was favoured by the Vietnamese community too – a sure fire reassurance on the food’s authenticity.
There is a varied menu of starters and small eats to kickstart your meal, catering for meat eaters and vegetarians alike. Dumplings, pancakes, seafood and grilled vegetable dishes are all available, each listed in both English and Vietnamese. We opted for the anchovied chicken wings, in a caramelised fish sauce with sesame seeds. The crispiness of the coating were offset by the softness of the meat itself, which came off the bone with ease, while the sauce was satisfyingly sweet, but with a more savoury aftertaste.
Onto the mains, and this is where Viet Grill really shine. The Saigon Pork Belly Stew, served with a sweet and sticky egg fried rice, was perhaps one of the best portions of pork belly I’ve ever tasted – and I don’t say that lightly. Slow braised in coconut juice and caramelised fish sauce, the pork belly was so tender and flavoursome, and matched perfectly with the rice.
However, you can’t head to Viet Grill without trying their signature authentic pho. Originating in northern Vietnam, pho is a noodle soup, made using a slow-cooked bone broth – it is packed full of flavour, thanks to the cooking process. Viet Grill offer a selection of phos, inspired by the cuisine of both northern and southern Vietnam; I opted for the seafood pho.
This soup dish is served with beansprouts on the side, which adds a nice crunch to the other soft and hot ingredients. You can enjoy pho the northern Vietnamese way by just adding hot sauce, or the southern Vietnamese way – hot sauce and a dash of hoisin sauce too. I opted for the latter, and the dish was unbelievably tasty. I couldn’t get enough of the noodles, prawns, squid, and most importantly of all, the broth. To be frank, I could drink a pint of the broths from either main meal, and even when full, I kept sneaking a spoonful of the remaining broths here and there. Bottle it, and sell it, Viet Grill!
To accompany your meal, Viet Grill have a drinks menu of bespoke cocktails, soft drinks, tea, and Vietnamese beer. For a fruity twist on a classic, I’d recommend the Vijito – the Viet Grill version of a mojito, mixed with passionfruit juice. It was tart yet sweet, and with a good measure of rum too. Unlike some bars, Viet Grill offer a well-sized mocktail menu too, plus Vietnamese favourite, mango lassi, and homemade lemonade. So, grab your stretchy waistband, and make a beeline for pho mile; delicious dishes and refreshing drinks await.