Mien Tay 1

180 Lavender Hill , London, SW11 5TQ

Mien Tay

SquareMeal Review of Mien Tay

Since opening in 2008, Mien Tay has played to regular packed houses, so we reckon it must be doing something right. Warm service and fair prices certainly help sustain its reputation, along with food that continues to surprise and delight. The char-grilled quail with a thick honey glaze, garlic and spices gets a lot of good press, as does the expertly marinated char-grilled minced beef served in betel leaves. Alternatively, you could dine on frog's legs, eel and goat, or play it safer by ordering whole crispy-fried sea bream with lemongrass and ginger, plus a green mango salad on the side. Like many of its neighbours on Kingsland Road's 'pho mile', Mien Tay used to be BYO but has forgone that tradition, opting for a well-priced wine list curated by no less an expert than Bibendum's Willie Lebus.

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6.0

Food & Drink: 7.3

Service: 4.4

Atmosphere: 4.9

Value: 7.1

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Rebecca L. gold reviewer 21 July 2014

I've been to Mien Tay a few times now and it's consistent – always excellent food but terrible service. It can take a while to get a waiter's attention and when you do you feel like you're burdening them. However, the food is superb. I'd recommend any of the prawn starters and my favourite main is the lemongrass chicken. You can quite easily eat two courses with wine for less than £18. I'd recommend it for a cheap dinner out with friends if you're not in a hurry.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 1.0

Value: 4.0

tareq m. 07 April 2012

food was as usual fresh. service was very awful. the main funny things is their management! i think they don't have any chain of command to give to the customers what they want. the waiter don't able to understand much what i was saying. it was my first time in that restaurant to order a takeout. i went there at lunch time when they were not busy although they dont really interested to take my order!!! i was expected some explanation of food as i was new at their restaurant but waiter couldnt able to explain about food too much!! i was like embarrassed!!!

Food & Drink: 1.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 0.0

Value: 1.0

Monica C. 06 November 2011

Unwelcoming atmosphere and a burden! Sadly it is so damaging to what was suppose to be a fun evening meeting with friends! I arrived early and my 4 friends were running late. Managress insisted on seating us in a small corner table barely large enough for 3 let alone for 5. So immediately there is a hostile atmosphere created when i said that we are too large a crowd to squashed in that corner. Next comes the constant harrassment on if there going to be more people arriving. Finally 10 mins late, 2 friends arrived and the other 2 very late. More awkward harrassment on if there are 2 more to arrive. We placed starters order and ordered a bottle of wine to pacify the managress and anxious waiters. The restaurant was busy but not packed, there was always a spare table downstairs. Service was just awful with sloppy food delivered at the table. It is the last time i will visit this place and will let others know it is an unpleasant experience. What a shame that Dragon lady boss is more concerned with other issues than to make her restaurant more welcoming with better service with a smile. Its more service with a sneer!

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Rowdy 15 October 2011

Unfortunately, I think Mien Tay's quality has been slipping as popularity grows. Whilst my recommendation is to stay with the selection of appertisers, soups or clay pots at the front of the menu rather than the chinese offerings at the rear, even some of the appertisers are not up to scratch lately. The salt and pepper squid seems to shrink in size each time I go. The fresh rice paper springs rolls have shrunk and the dipping sauce tastes like it's from a packet. Sometimes I wonder if they've been sold to a new owner and the smart and shiney restuarant interior shown on their website bears little resemblance to reality. Improvements needed: - Re-decoration of restuarant…greasy plastic tables, cheap paper tablecloths and grubby walls are just not good enough - A return to producing quality dishes…not just something that'll pass because British don't know any better Don't get me wrong, Mien Tay is still better than a lot of VN restaurants around Shoreditch and Hackney but I'm now thinking of looking elsewhere for a better quality of food.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 2.0

Camilla H. 14 October 2011

Food was great for the money – as always. However service was awful – rude and arrogant to make us feel like we were incredibly unwelcome. The waiter was angry and shook his head at our bill – he appeared disappointed it didn't add up to enough for his liking (4 of us had one main each). They questioned us over BYO- apparently it's stopping. Also we were sitting downstairs and it was uncomfortably hot. Very disappointing experience as the food is delicious.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 5.0

Food fiend platinum reviewer 01 April 2011

I went here in advance of a gig at the Clapham Grand due to the number of reviews id read about it being a hotspot in Clapham! The place itself isnt much to look at – a tired cafe style restaurant on the high street. I was hesitant to go in due to the decor and had to keep convincing my friend that this had great reviews. Foodwise, we had the spring rolls to start – freshly fried and covered in this vermicelli type thing but delicious! Not your usual frozen spring rolls. Mains were huge, i wasnt very adventurous and had the chicken in black bean sauce whilst my friend had the prawns with cashew nuts. Both very tasty though nothing really different to anything ive had before in any other oriental place. Service was ok, they made a few mistakes with the orders and looked horrified when i asked for the correct dish, so i just backed down and said id eat it! The true outstanding point about Mien Tay is the price. By 7pm, it was packed out – both upstairs and downstairs. Pricewise, our starter, two huge mains and sides came to just £25 for us both. Fantastically good value for some pretty decent food. I think id be hard pushed to get anything near this quality for this sort of price – its not outstanding but it is good. The bookings speak for themselves.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 5.0

Captain Haddock bronze reviewer 01 July 2010

Yup, it's not exactly Nobu to look at, but you'd be hard pushed to find better value Vietnamese anywhere in London. The off-licence opposite has a great selection of beers and wines too, so you can treat yourself to a nice Pinot Gris for under a tenner. Starter ‘musts’ include the grilled quail – served with lime and salty sugar for dipping – or the chilli squid, which most people in there seemed to have ordered, and the spicy green papaya salad, which – unusually, has plenty of green papaya in it! The fresh spring rolls are great too. If you're on a budget, skip starters as main-course portions are gigantic. The spicy prawn pho, for example, or the beef rolls (a DIY job, delivered in its constituent parts: rice paper, spiced minced beef, veggies and vermicelli) – all hovering around £6 for a dish that could conceivably feed two! Service is friendly and efficient, too. A great antidote to Clapham Junction's array of tacky chains. The Social opposite is a good place to meet before/head afterwards for a drink.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

Sabrina's Passions platinum reviewer 24 April 2010

Ok, the decor is beyond cheesy and the music is very '70's American supermarket'… But this place is the daddy of all Vietnamese restaurants. The menu is pretty large with lots of different choices, with a huge selection of starters and mains. Special mention to the Mien Tay spring rolls that are simply put, incredible, the papaya salad with dry beef is also absolutely superb along with salt and pepper garlic squid. We ordered several mains (way too many, as it turns out) including beef with rice paper wraps, which are a spicy, lemongrass infused mixture of minced beef with thin sticky rice paper sheets and assorted herbs and vegetables so you can make your own rolls. A whole seabass deep fried topped with chilli, garlic and coriander is moist and delicate in flavour. We also ordered some Chinese-style crispy fried seafood noodles, which were ok, but couldnt remotely touch the authentic Vietnamese dishes on offer. After all we ate, I thought the bill would probably come to around 70 quid, but no… I gasped to see it came to just 40! What a total bargain. If anything, it gives you EVEN more reason to eat here. The staff are lovely, the service is great… I don't live near Battersea, but nothing will stop me from coming back to this fabulous little gem of a Vietnamese restaurant… It beats all the Kingsland Road Vietnamese eateries, 100 times over. It is simply the best Vietnamese food I have evere had, outside of Vietnam!

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