104 Kingsland Road
Tel: 020 7033 0588
Date of Last Visit: Saturday, December 2, 2006
The Victims: Me, Myself, and I
The Damage: 14 gbp
The Background: Funnily enough, more than one person has found my blog by Google’ing "Cammy Nails." See, Cammy Nails is where I get my manicures and pedicures every so often, and it’s off of Whitecross Street in a newer, more spacious abode. Whitecross Street is one of my favorite streets in London. (Although you would probably be puzzled by that statement if you were to purposefully trek there.) And well, I seem to mention Cammy Nails a lot.
I dropped in at Cammy first thing this morning (first thing for a Saturday morning, that is), and I was treated to a pedicure and manicure AT THE SAME TIME. As someone who never seems to have enough time, this was a Godsend. Thank you, Cammy Nails! (For your reference, Cammy Nails can be reached at 020 7496 9399. They are at 18 Fortune Street, EC1Y 0SB.)
I happened to be reading A Cook’s Tour by Anthony Bourdain while I was in there, and of course I just happened to be on the Vietnam chapter. So I asked the folks at Cammy…if I were to go to Kingsland Road for lunch, where should I go? They all immediately said Au Lac. (In case you didn’t figure it out, everyone that works at Cammy is Vietnamese.) This was followed quickly by Tay Do, which I will try another time. They were a little impressed that I’d already been to Cay Tre and Song Que, but not very. (They looked particularly puzzled by Song Que–as if they didn’t really consider it Vietnamese or something.)
The Approach: So after waiting forever for my nails to dry, I walked over to Au Lac. I spied two older women out front, perusing the menu; they must have been taking a break from their bus tour to the Geffrye Museum.
I casually opened the door, turned to them and said, "This is supposed to be THE BEST Vietnamese place." They tittered and were so excited and came in after me. They were so grandmotherly, I should have adopted them and sat at the same table with them, but I was on the Great Chefs chapter in A Cook’s Tour and just wanted to read and eat.
The Starters and The Mains: After having the Vietnamese pancake at Song QUe, I wisely opted for the same at Au Lac–but this time, not the veggie version! The shrimp were lucious–nice and fat–not those little teeny ones you get in prawn sandwiches over here. And the pancake itself was amazing…I asked my server what was in it, and she explained that it was three different types of rice flour. My plan was to eat about 1/3 of this, and take the rest home. Of course, this plan was ruined when I left the pancake in its carton on the table. Idiot!
I went for a spicy pho, which was really nice, although I still can’t get the hang of slurping up all the noodles. It was served with a side of sprouts, lime, hot peppers, and what I think were bay leaves but I’m not really sure. The soup was really nice, but I think I liked the pancake a whole lot better. And now it’s a few hours later and I’m sitting here thinking–I could really use a snack–and I’m totally kicking myself for leaving the pancake on the stupid table.
During lunch, I was entertained by the proprieters young daughter, who danced her way around the restaurant, and served the fish more than I think they could ever eat in a million years.
Decor: Mustard-y walls. Banquet-style tables/chairs. Lovely paintings. In short, a bit more atmospheric than Cay Tre or Song Que.
The Verdict: Love the pancake.