Sunday, 10 February 2013

Review - Keu

London is bankrupting me. Eating out is an expensive hobby but it's too tempting when there are so many potentially good places to go. My list is growing much more quickly than I can eat my way through it. As a result, I've imposed a food blog reading hiatus so I don't keep adding to it. BUT THERE'S NOTHING I CAN DO ABOUT MY (already very short-sighted) EYES. On the walk to Keu I added five new places to my never shrinking list. Keu sports a bright lime sign that I've never managed to ignore any time I've walked down Old Street. From the first moment I saw it, I made an assumption that it was one of those trendy Vietnamese cafes that have popped up everywhere over the past few years. I assumed the food would be reasonable but overpriced. But I couldn't ignore the sign! I've wanted to try banh mi for ages but every time I've been in a (trendy, overpriced) Vietnamese place I've gone for a rice dish that I know will probably be good rather than a baguette which I might not even like. But I had plans to go and look at furniture in the V&A with a friend who lives very near Keu so it seemed like an obvious time to go. Then on the morning of furniture day, I considered my dinner the night before (£7 worth of McDonalds) and craved salad rather than a baguette. But then lunch time came and I forgot all about the McDonalds and stuck to the banh mi plan. After some deliberation, I chose the braised beef sandiwch. Then I totally ruined the well-oiled system and annoyed all the staff by immediately reverting to the Keu classic, a sandwich with steamed pork belly, ham terrine and the usual array of fresh herbs and chilli.
I don't think I'm a fan of chilli in a baguette. In other contexts (omelettes, patatas braves) I'm perfectly happy to eat chilli based dishes with bread. But a baguette? I'm not convinced. I confess that it tasted much better than I thought I would but ultimately the fresh spicy citrus filling would, in my opinion, go much better with some lovely rice. Still, forgetting the fact that I don't seem to approve of banh mi, it was a well constructed sandwich. Firm, crusty bread with a pleasant golden crisp top filled with soft, slightly salty pork belly and combined with the texture of a pâté. I sort of feel like the meats would've gone much better with some gravy but that's just me objecting to the concept of banh mi again. I tried some of the furniture enthusiast's lemongrass chicken curry. The sauce was a lovely consistency but didn't quite pack the lemongrass punch I'd have liked. All in all, Keu's food was exactly as I expected it to be except that it was cheaper than I'd envisaged. It epitomises three star: fine and with some quite tasty elements but nothing that interesting or memorable.

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