Café East

Crispy Onions

Café East is a little diamond in the rough amidst the kind of typical outer London complex which always contains a cinema, a Frankie and Benny’s and a Pizza Hut with not much else around the outside. Simple blue neon signs indicate you are in the right place, otherwise it’s just bolted doors behind which you can hear sizzling and shouting as you catch mouthwatering wafts that drive you round the bend (literally) as you try to find the door. Once inside, the café (it really is a cafe, not a restaurant), is very simple, yet bright, airy and full of Oriental customers. Happy days.

We ordered two starters to share, a dish very much like the Chinese cheung fun (with a very similar spelling on the menu), rice wrappers with a deeply savoury filling of minced meat and topped with slices of mystery meat (to which I’m not averse in the right places – this is one of them) and crispy, sweet fried onions. It came with nuoc cham – fish sauce, garlic, chilli and lime juice.


Summer rolls were vermicelli, sweet prawns, crunchy lettuce and strands of herbs including Thai basil and mint. They were duly dunked in the accompanying spicy peanut dipping sauce and lasted all of a few minutes.


We both ordered the Bun Bo Hue – a hot, steaming bowl of noodly broth containing prawns, chicken and rare beef. The waitress asked us if we wanted spicy, we both nodded enthusiastically and it turned out to be just the right kind of heat – building nicely and giving you a bit of a sweat towards the end but no steam coming out of your ears.

The staff at Café East are attentive and friendly and the whole meal came to £30.10 (without service) for the food and two drinks – mine an iced herbal tea and my mate’s an iced coffee (there’s no alcohol license at Café East).

Fortunately for me, the place is also but a mere twenty minute bus ride away, a fact I shall be appreciating as often as possible. Although, next time, I’ll make sure not to wear a white t-shirt.

Café East
100 Redriff Road
SE16 7LH

0208 6917777
(The restaurant only accepts cash)

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  • Avatar
    Reply Ollie May 29, 2009 at 8:21 am

    You got this one up pretty quickly!

    Looks really good: I’ll definitely head over when I’m next in Rovverive.

    Ollies last blog post..Au Pied de Cochon, Paris

  • Avatar
    Reply Lizzie May 29, 2009 at 8:57 am

    I can’t wait to revisit! And definitely no white tops. Splatter-fest!

    Lizzies last blog post..Cafe East – A Vietnamese Feast

  • Avatar
    Reply meemalee May 29, 2009 at 10:45 am

    This used to be near my in-laws and we kept meaning to go but Saigon Blues was next door.

    Can’t believe it’s moved to Surrey Quays now.

    I will go and combine it with some bowling or something 🙂

    meemalees last blog post..Rant: Great British Menu 2009 Final – Dessert

  • Avatar
    Reply Gourmet Chick May 29, 2009 at 11:17 am

    The first photo looks amazing! Mystery meat I love it…

    Gourmet Chicks last blog post..Sjavarkjallarin – Seafood Cellar (Gourmet Chick in Iceland)

  • Avatar
    Reply aforkfulofspaghetti May 29, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    Cor… Am very much liking the look and sound of ALL of that!

    Could they possibly open a sister venue over here in SW london, do you think?

    aforkfulofspaghettis last blog really IS summer…

  • Avatar
    Reply David Hall May 29, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    Them spring rolls look lush Helen, yum! x

    David Halls last blog post..Probably The Best Sandwich In The World

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    Reply Y May 29, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    Yum. I’ve never seen cheung fan with mystery meat before. I wonder what it was!?

    Ys last blog post..Daring Bakers Challenge : Strudel

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    Reply Helen Yuet Ling Pang May 31, 2009 at 7:53 am

    Oooh, I love summer rolls! And I’d love to try the bun bo hue one day, that’s my kind of food…

    Helen Yuet Ling Pangs last blog post..Second Helpings – May 2009

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    Reply Nate June 3, 2009 at 7:21 am

    Nice to know you can get decent Vietnamese food there. Here in San Jose, California, we’re pretty spoiled for good Vietnamese food. The “mystery meat” as you call it is a steamed pork “sausage” that they slice up thinly. You also see this meat in their banh mi sandwiches. Good stuff!

    Nates last blog post..Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Ultimate Backyard Lu’au

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    Reply marianne June 4, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    Hey very nice blog!!

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