Saturday, 22 February 2014

Com Viet Revisited: where the CHACK BUS came around

There's something about the subtlety of Vietnamese cuisine that makes it stand out. The marriage of fresh herbs/aromatics and fresh produce is a strong one especially when you have really good ingredients and really good people who know how to play them for.

I also like Vietnamese because whenever I eat it, I feel like I've had a cheat day/lazy night takeaway minus the calories and health hazards. 

A few weeks ago the Filo Supper Club girls and I went back to Com Viet to celebrate K Lighter Day. It was good to see the girls again (we missed sweet momma R!) and I'm super ecstatic that my MOH & cousin D is now part of our posse!

Everyone had a piece of blue as it's K's favourite colour.

Even the ladies in red.

From outside the restaurant along Garrick Street, Com Viet looks super tiny and almost hole-in-the-wall-ish for Covent Garden standards. Down a narrow wooden staircase though, the place looks like a proper restaurant with really nice booths like so:

The thing with Vietnamese food is that I like EVERYTHING! There was a server who knew the menu like the back of his hand and we played a bit of a game.

US: Number 48
HIM: Bun Sa!
US: Number 7a
HIM: Prawn skewers!
US: Number 21b
HIM: Tofu in caramelised sauce!
ME: Number 44a
HIM: Ahhh... we do not have 44a!

Impressive... and the dude gave me my large glass of red - for free!

Few minutes after our little quiz our food arrived.

There was gai cuo ton again (£4.60). The spring rolls were as good as they were: fragrant, fresh and beautifully wrapped. Still served with that hoi sin / plum sauce thing which I still find bizarre.

Salt and pepper squid (£6.90) was decent but not totally mind blowing. I like that the batter was crispy and light. 

The Saigon stewed pork belly (£8.50) tasted a bit of adobo minus the tart flavour. The pork was soft and tender, braised in fish sauce and soy. 

I ordered some BBQ grilled squid (£6.90) because I liked it so much before. Unfortunately I was let down on this visit. It was flat as French pancakes, dry and tough on the edges. Darn.

The water spinach (£7) stir fried in garlic was a great health kick and there was plenty enough to share between eight people. I wish they seasoned it more though.

Crowd favourite of the night was the BBQ pork loin with rice vermicelli (£9.5) but as I've had it before I wanted something different. Still in the mood for noodles, I opted for beef bun sa (£9). It's basically a massive plate of sauteed beef strips, rice vermicelli, veggies and herbs. At first sight the only difference between this and the pork noodle dish is the meat. Oh, and they have an extra spring roll. #ifeelsoleftout

Served with the holy mother of Viet sauces my dish came alive. There wasn't really much of a difference between the two dishes taste-wise either except one was porky, the other beefy. Not that it's a bad thing because the ingredients are the same anyway and both are pretty darn good dishes. Except they have a spring roll and my dish didn't. 

I do sense great comfort whenever I visit Com Viet - possibly because the place is so cosy, most likely because I'm always with the FSC ladies when I go. K was smiling at me from heaven that night. Surrounded by friends with happy bellies full up to brim, there was a show of support and love. These women are so strong and I am inspired.

Oh and if you're wondering about the title... it's kind of an inside joke but here's a clue:

Com Viet
2-4 Garrick St  London, City of London, Greater London WC2E 9BH | +44(0)20 7497 2779
Ave spend pp: £20 (no desserts, but there's a lot of cafés and froyo places around)
Square Meal

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