Even when abroad on holidays, I never eat where the tourists are and always follow the locals down back streets to where the secret, cheap but true cultural food is found. Cheap and cheerful restaurants are definitely my absolute favourite. You know you are walking into somewhere special when every table is taken, the food is cheap but good quality and everyone looks happy. You can actually feel the buzz and know you are entering somewhere fantastic. I feel Tayyabs in Whitechapel, Mirch Masala in Tooting (Imran Khan's supposed favourite) and the Pepper Tree in Clapham (claimed to be Rick Stein's favourite Pad Thai in the UK) are all terrific places to grab quick but cheap bites to eat.
I became very excited this week when we decided to try Mien Tay. I had been reading reviews about this place for a long time and my husband was really keen to go there too. Lets just say, it was truly fabulous. Even AA Gill (yes, possibly one of the world's toughest food critics) loves this place. Located on the Battersea/Clapham border, the restaurant was packed with people of all different ages and nationalities, which firstly I loved and secondly confirmed that I was somewhere special. The staff were very friendly and helpful and almost every seat was taken, so we were very lucky to be seated at one of the last available tables.
Mien Tay - Lavender Hill, Battersea.
The most delicious prawn rice paper wraps and a fabulous seaweed dish behind.
My husband ordered these spring rolls with vegetables and fresh herbs.
Stir-fried Asian vegetables
We also ordered rice, a chicken and cashew nut stir-fry and a few drinks, which all totalled £28. For what we ordered and considering the quality and freshness of the food, this place was wonderful! I really recommend Mien Tay for, in my opinion, the best Vietnamese food in London.
What is your favourite cheap and cheerful restaurant?