It was my friend John’s birthday, in order to overcome what he described as the “suffocating formality” (read as expense) of last year’s 30th birthday dinner, he proposed somewhere “relaxed” (read as cheap) this year, so we headed to Tay Do in Hackney.
Tay Do has a mini-empire of Vietnamese restaurants around Kingsland road. We went to the restaurant at 60 Kingsland road. It is fairly utilitarian with lots of white formica, mirrors and long canteen style tables that you will probably have to share. For some reason, it is also really hot, whether it is from so many people in one room or the waiters rushing around, we all started to strip off clothes upon arrival.
Food generally arrived ridiculously promptly upon ordering although at fairly random times. Spring rolls were not as fresh as I would have liked and tasted slightly overcooked. The rong bien (crispy seaweed) they were served with was something I have not come across before and it was a bit too sweet, and, well, fried, for my tastes. The chilli salted and peppered ribs were also a disappointment as they were quite greasy.
Scallops with snow peas or “mange tout” as they are called here were fairly bland and tasteless, although MTV boyfriend thinks I am partly to blame for bad ordering. His sizzling beef with green pepper and onions in black bean sauce was much better. It came out on a hot plate, which although a cheap trick, never fails to impress me. The sauce was very flavoursome however the beef was slightly chewy.
The best thing about Tay Do though is the fact that it is byo, I have waxed lyrical before about the joys of bringing your own drinks, and despite the somewhat mediocre food the byo factor and the cheap prices helped to partially redeem Tay Do in my eyes. It was lucky that it was byo as well, as our next step for the birthday outing was a venture to a Dolly Parton night at George & Dragon. We would need to drink up before braving the renditions of Little Sparrow.