Pho Sweet Basil
7 Kingsland Road
Date of Last Visit: Thursday, July 30th, 2009
The Victims: Gerry, Ben, Matt, Carolyn
The Damage: Cheap! Like maybe £15 each. Maybe.
The Background: It was one of those random days, and a rare one too with the sun shining. We dropped by The Wenlock and tried out some ales, sitting in their "garden" (read: field across the street). I admired the "new" floor. (i.e., They've finally pulled up the grody carpet.) And then we wanted to check out the fire which was still smoldering over Hackney–and somehow we found ourselves wandering around the back streets behind Old Street, on our way to Kingsland Road.
Gerry and Ben go out to eat on Kingsland Road all the time so it was a good game we were playing:
Them: "No, not there. We've been there before."
Me: "Not there either. I've been there too and the loos are gross."
Until eventually, we found ourself at Pho Sweet Basil, which none of us had been too.
The Entrance: They're empty. Whereas later, when we walk down the road, Tay Do Cafe is PACKED. And they serve alchohol, where we just wanted to BYOB. No problem, they tell us. We can BYOB. (Which has part of me wondering…is that legal?) The decor is new and modern and vaguely flat-pack-like.
The Starters: Beef in betel leaves. These are old. Like someone made them last night and just didn't get around to serve them. Either that, or they are way overcooked. The beef is tough. But the vegetables are fresh. And then there are some summer rolls, which are as nice as summer rolls can be. (I always find summer rolls rather bland. You really need the sauce. And I didn't get enough sauce.)
The Mains: Lots of different things. The best, in my opinion, was Ben's dish which was a fried rice stuffed with all sorts of delicious things, wrapped in banana leaf. This was comforting and savory and filling.
Worst was Carolyn's chicken dish, which came with some sort of curry sauce. The chicken, again, felt and tasted old and like it had been cooked once or twice before being warmed up a third time to be served to us.
Somewhere in the middle was my mixed seafood and vegetable dish. The prawns were generous. In general, it was very generous. Lots of fresh vegetables cooked just right. This was good. I would have it again.
The Loos: Could use a good power-washing.
The Service: Easily confused.
The Verdict: Not my favorite.