Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mien Tay, Battersea - restaurant review

A lot of good stuff has been written about Mien Tay (restaurants on Lavender Hill, Battersea, and Kingsland Road, Shoreditch). The resulting popularity means it can be quite difficult to get a table, even on a weekday.  We finally got round to making a booking in advance (thanks Sara!) and arrived with quite a sense of anticipation...

The restaurant decor could be politely described as kitsch, or less kindly as garish (and the less said about the outfits the waiting staff are forced to endure the better!). Nonetheless, this adds to the atmosphere of the place, which was predictably heaving even on a Wednesday night.

To get the bad bits out of the way upfront, I have to tell you the service was awful.  It was hard to get anyone's attention, our waiter was grumpy as hell, glasses of water never materialised and we waited half an hour for one of the starters to arrive.  Maybe they were having a bad day

Now, let's move on. 

The bring your own booze policy took the edge off and happily they don't charge corkage.  That said, I would've happily paid a couple of quid for a cooler or ice bucket.

The menu is extensive, somewhat overwhelmingly so.  For someone as indecisive as I am, it was a challenge.  We ordered a starter and a main course each.  The portions are pretty big though, so for the less greedy, sharing would most definitely be an option.

Mien Tay spring rolls were crisp and crunchy, served with a nice little side of pickled vegetables and a delicious sweet and spicy dip. 

The crispy pancake with chicken and beansprouts was particularly impressive - Findus this was not!  A huge portion with tender chicken and thin, light pancakes.

Summer rolls with shrimp were fresh and light, served with a gloopy satay sauce (check out my summer rolls recipe if you fancy trying them at home)


Salt and pepper squid was well cooked and not at all greasy.  It could've done with a little more seasoning though.

Two of us went for the whole crispy fried sea bream with mango and fish sauce.  This is one of the house specialties and probably the best dish we had.  The skin was perfectly crispy and the mango and fish sauce worked in perfect harmony.

Sea bream with lemon grass and chilli was good but was overshadowed by the mango dish.  

We also had the chargrilled chicken with honey and spices.  This needed a little more spice but was a generous portion for just £5.80.  Unfortunately my iPhone picture really didn't do it justice, so I haven't included it.

The bill was extremely reasonable, largely due to the lack of booze on it!  Starters range from £3.50 to £8.00 and mains from £5.80 to £12.50, with most at the lower end of the price bracket.

I think the food was good enough to chance the bad service a second time, I'll let you know when I do.

Mien Tay on Urbanspoon


  1. My meal at Mien Tay was nice, but nothing to rave about really. Don't understand the fuss about this place and still prefer my Kingsland Road Vietnamese. Service sounds awful!

  2. Ooh, which restaurant on Kingsland Road? Might have to try it out! Yes, the service was almost comically bad. Shame, as we were really looking forward to it, having read some rave reviews. x


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