Birthday Food Crawl: Viet Grill, Tay Do & Hanoi Café

In the first year of our challenge we’d managed to eat at about 25 of the restaurants along Kingsland Road. Not bad going but it was starting to get tough, as we’d eaten in most of the places we really wanted to visit and the motivation to go to yet another Vietnamese restaurant was dropping by the day.

We’d also noticed that our friends and acquaintances – so keen 12 months ago to join us – were much less likely to commit our quest when they discovered we’d already hit most of the respectable restaurants and they’d have to accompany us to something altogether seedier.

So we came up with a sneaky plan to knock off a whole load of places in one fell swoop and get people excited about eating with us (and celebrate the blog’s birthday into the bargain); a food crawl to as many of the untried Vietnamese places our stomachs could handle. in one evening

We gathered up a gang of friends, started at the relatively upmarket Viet Grill and moved down Kingsland Road, stopping to eat more at any of the other restaurants that took our fancy as we went. We issued everyone on the crawl with cards to record their thoughts, dreams, doodles and anything else they fancied. In the end, we managed to consume a large quantity of beer and visit three different restaurants in one night.

This is what happened in.gif form:


Waking up the following morning, we found E-8te towers littered with the increasingly garbled ramblings of the group as recorded on their review cards. Here’s the best of what they said.

Viet Grill – 58 Kingsland Road  vietgrill

We ate:

  • Salt and pepper squid
  • Hanoi sweet potato and shrimp
  • Summer rolls
  • Prawn pancake
  • Monkfish

Some of the best things people said about it:

“I accidentally ate meat. (Meat is murder)”

“Monk fish = meaty. Weird sauce”

“God is great. Service is not. Monk fish good. Everything else blah”

“Weird mushroom glue with the monk fish”

“I heart salt and pepper squid”

Tay Do – 65 Kingsland Road


We ate:

  • Soft shell crab
  • Aubergine in soy sauce
  • Beef and tamarind
  • Pak choi and garlic
  • Vegetable spring rolls
  • Tofu pancake
  • Talapia

Some of the best things people said about it:

“Yum aubergine. Better than some place I ate with ma and pa Cooper and it had a Michelin star!”

“James goaded me into eating a chilli. We discovered I am a pussy”

“The aubergine was frickin out of this world”

“I’m having a lovely time”

“Tasty food. But James’s arm got in the way” (we have no idea what this means either)

“Good but no cigars”

“They had massive lobster on the walls. THANK GOD” (they don’t)

Hanoi Café – 98 Kingsland Road


We ate:

  • Chicken Wings
  • Salt and pepper tofu
  • Chilli Broccoli
  • Vegetarian Noodles
  • Banana Fritters

Some of the best things people said about it:

“NOT AT GOOD AS MORLEY’S . As good as She’s All That

“The tofu was squishy like I imagine lung to be BUT the banana fritters were the nicest thing since Mutya left the Sugababes”

“Awesome ClipArt on the front of the menu”

“So hot. I feel bloated from the beer. Help….” (This was the only thing written on this card and the “help” trailed off as if the person who wrote was passing out at the time)

“I am going to live on banana fritters for the whole of the next month”

“Broccoli; so passé”

“Those fritters made me moist”

So there you have it. That’s what happens if you give people a vast quantity of Vietnamese food, some booze and let them go wild with their thoughts and opinions. Did we learn anything, other than the fact that everyone clearly loves banana fritters after a couple of beers? Not really but it was a lovely evening with some OK food to boot. Thank you to all that made it along. Who knows, if E-8te is still going next year, maybe we’ll do it again.


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