Review: BunBunBun has serious flavours with a side of fun
PUBLISHED: 12:26 15 July 2015 | UPDATED: 12:26 15 July 2015
Inconspicuously signposted and located, BunBunBun is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it affair on a street already littered with Vietnamese canteens.
The interior is narrow and stretches further back than the little entranceway would suggest, with exposed cement and brickwork giving a roadside feel to the venue.
Despite the transient feel of the décor, the long tables heave with happy diners and buckle under plates that promise tantalizing flavours.
A starter of grilled pork wrapped in betel leaves was a hit: the fresh and meaty parcels were redolent with Vietnamese coriander and sparked with sweet and spicy nuoc cham, a clear dipping sauce. They arrived on a bed of tender vermicelli and a verdant mixture of leaves and vegetables, in a glorious textural medley.
Smoky salt and chilli ribs packed a good garlicky punch, thick and chewy – a perfect accompaniment to Saigon, the rich, sweet Vietnamese beer served in the restaurant.
Next came a portion of griddled goat, sizzling and spluttering with beautifully julienned scallion and lemongrass. The dish looked more impressive than it tasted, being slightly under-seasoned, but the meat was tender and imbued with zesty lemongrass.
A magnificent sea bream was the other main course, piled high with vegetables and an abundance of green herbs, salads and lemongrass – and the delicate slivers of fish were awash with the refreshing taste.
A macha ice cream was a cooling balance of sweetness and tea which ended the meal on a high note.
BunBunBun stands out from its neighbours with a playful take on the classics that nevertheless tackles Vietnamese flavours head on instead of diluting the food for uninitiated palates. For that, it would be little surprise to see it become a stalwart on the Shoreditch food scene.
Address: 134B Kinsgland Road, Hoxton, E2 8DY
Price: Starters from £5, Mains from £12