Chicken Satay Banh Mi at Viet Cafe, Camberwell

23 Jan

LOCATION: Viet Cafe (formerly Cafe Bay), 75 Denmark Hill,  SE5 8RS [map]

PRICE: Ummm about £2.70 ish I think. Or £3.10? I’m just plucking numbers out of the air here. It’s cheap, basically.

BREAD: Baguette.

FILLING: A skewer of chicken flavoured with a mild satay, cucumber strips, pickled daikon and carrot, coriander, sweet chilli sauce, fresh chilli.

PROS: Camberwell is basically a sandwich wasteland so Viet Cafe must be making an absolute killing. This is by no means the best banh mi in the world but it stands out a mile in an area packing only a Subway (what IS that smell that comes from Subway?) and  numerous crappy cafes. Yes I enjoyed Rock Steady Eddie’s recently but seriously, there’s a time and a place, sickos!

I’m constantly amazed that the chicken satay banh mi is so much better than all the pork banh mi and, especially and, it’s better than the banh mi special which contains all the types of pork at once. ME CONFUSE. Anyway, it’s the best so I never order anything else. It’s also good and punchy, just the way a banh mi should be. I like the sweet chilli sauce filth factor, which they then ramp up with bits of fresh chilli so by the end I’ve really worked up a proper sniffle. Banh mi never have enough chilli in general, I find, so mad props to Viet Cafe in that respect.

CONS: Well you know, it’s not anything particularly ground breaking; you’re not going to find rice flour baguettes. I kind of wish they would stop arseing about with all the tuna mayo/cheese salad/chicken and sweetcorn rubbish though and just live up to the name of Viet Cafe – shake up that hood a little. I think Camberwell may just, just about be ready…

SCORE: 7/10 (relative to everything else in the area)

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9 Responses to “Chicken Satay Banh Mi at Viet Cafe, Camberwell”

  1. thomash January 24, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    Having tried a supposedly more authentic rice flour banh mi at City Caphe I found I actually preferred the non rice flour baguettes they use at Panda Panda in Deptford.

    In fact for my money the Panda Panda barbecue pork banh mi has yet to be knocked off the second place in the banh mi league I have running in my head. Only beaten by the sadly missed proto Panda Panda stall in Greenwich run by a lovely Vietnamese lady who was really proud of her food and rightly so.

  2. Sebastian February 19, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    I have been hearing good reports about Cattle grid in Balham/ Clapham hopefully you have put these on your radar for reviews.

    • londonreviewofsandwiches February 19, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

      As in Cattle Grid the steak place? Hopefully it isn’t because that place is dire. I shall investigate!

  3. Sarah January 15, 2014 at 11:57 am #

    Slightly surprised by the muted praise as I’ve been to a lot of places serving Banh Mi and this is by far the best – great drinks too. Can only assume that this stems from the attitude that ‘if it is in Camberwell it can’t be any good’. Often, if places don’t look very hip, it somehow affects the tastebuds. Agree about the sandwich wasteland in the area – astonishing given two teaching hospitals and King’s College London on its doorstep. Also agree no need bother with all the other conventional fillings.

    • londonreviewofsandwiches January 15, 2014 at 11:59 am #

      I can’t agree that this is the best banh mi in London as there are far far better to be had. The comment about Camberwell is completely wrong I’m afraid – I live on Camberwell Church street so I’m all for the area and am constantly writing about the place on my other blog. I’ve also worked here for almost 10 years. It’s an okay banh mi, that’s as much as I can say about it. Yeah I agree all the other fillings are pointless.

      • Sarah January 15, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

        Apologies are due on a closer (and less grumpy) inspection – it is good to see somewhere with so many reviews of south east london places not prefaced by ‘If you can manage the trek out here…’ . Your review of Rock Steady Eddie’s really made me laugh too – I really tried with the place over so many lunchtimes but had to give up.
        Only just discovered this site, when checking to see if Viet Cafe was still open (I used to go 2 or 3 times a week for years until I stopped working here 6 months back). Hoping is still as much to my taste. Am sandwich fanatic, so very happy to find you.

      • londonreviewofsandwiches January 15, 2014 at 12:36 pm #

        No problem! Sorry for my grumpy response, I feel the same as you you see, I am a very proud south Londoner!

  4. annie March 6, 2014 at 10:52 pm #

    to all my fan of banh mi.
    Yes since the new owner taken over two years ago, the cafe has more choice, do come and try,

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