Kellie Erm pays a visit to Bánh Bánh Brixton for a venture into Vietnamese delights
Bánh Bánh Brixton feels like a little tiny escape from the bustle of Brixton’s liveliness, as you step into a welcoming space, with a large window facing the street, allowing for excellent people watching, and great lighting for photography.
The entrance of the space is a communal table next to the bar, whilst very minimalistic screens separate tables for two – a great way to create a little privacy without shielding off from the rest of the world.
The interiors are oddly very Scandinavian minimalist, with a few accents of green plants. It is refreshing to have a restaurant with that has not stereotyped the cuisine with the décor, and the décor felt very calming, welcoming, and light.
The menu is set up with eight smallish dishes, five biggish, and four classics to pick and choose from. The evening began by being presented a lovely bowl of rice crackers flecked with black sesame seeds served with a punch sweet chilli sauce.
They had a nice crunch and the sesame flavour was strong yet not overpowering. We were told the crackers were vegan, as they wanted a more inclusive snack rather than the typical prawn crackers.
Feeling like a child in a candy shop it was difficult to not order everything smallish, but knowing that we still had the biggish and classics to look forward to we chose wisely. After much deliberation, our table was filling up quickly with the likes of fresh shrimp summer rolls, BBQ beef in betel leafs and BBQ aubergine as if they were part of a parade.
The BBQ aubergine was the unanimous winner of the night, with two whole aubergines that have been grilled over charcoal, giving a subtle smokey flavour, dressed with fish sauce, spring onions and chopped peanuts. The flavours sparked in its simplicity, with the smoothest aubergine that could be mistaken for butter.
The BBQ beef in betel leaves were flavour packed, with an interesting procedure of wrapping the beef in rice noodles before dipping in sauce. The flavours were classic lemongrass and garlic, as there is there no need to complicate a winning combination that is part of the Vietnamese cuisine.
The summer rolls however were a bit flavourless, filled mostly with lettuce and unseasoned rice noodles and containing little actual shrimp.
Polly, our very attentive and knowledgeable server, suggested we try the Banh Khot Pancakes, which according to her was the ultimate favourite.
We receive a sizzling hot cast iron with little packages of shrimp with creamy coconut milk, a basket of different lettuce and fish sauce based dip. The dish, of course, came with clear instructions from Polly as to what steps to take, the first being to let them cool down a little!
It felt wrong not to order a noodle salad, and a large bowl of rice noodles, shredded vegetables, beef spring rolls and pork patties. The dressing was very light, as many times noodle salads can be quite sweet or overpowering, however Banh Banh created the perfect balance of sweet and sour.
By this point we are not capable to order any dessert, although the miso sorbet sounded intriguing.
The Wordrobe Verdict
Albeit I do not venture to south of the river very often, Banh Banh Brixton is a reason alone to visit Brixton, as not only was the food fresh and inventive, but the cocktail and non alcohol drinks list was impressive, with homemade salted pinappleade, jackfruit fizz, and other exciting Vietnamese takes on the classic cocktail list.
There’s an abundance of vegan options, and they offer take away (which is great as the portions are very generous!). Definitely worth the trip down to Brixton!
326 Coldharbour Ln, Brixton, London SW9 8QH