Check it out now: the Banh Bao Brothers.
Why, you ask? Well,
1) It’s a Modern Vietnamese restaurant, serving food that is modern, Vietnamese, and delicious;
2) It’s on the cool side of romantic, thanks to an orchard of dramatically lit blossom trees scattered throughout the restaurant; and
3) You’ll find it – somewhat unexpectedly – in a railway arch off the graffiti-lined tunnel beneath Waterloo station, somewhere that has, traditionally, been neither delicious or romantic.
That said, the place gels pretty well with its surroundings – the street art floods in from the tunnel into the restaurant itself, with the exposed brick walls slathered in vibrant murals. The neon uplighting gives the eatery a distinctly urban feel, even if the dishes coming to your table arrive on beautiful traditional plates and bamboo steamer baskets.
The food here is very much designed to be shared, with classic Vietnamese dishes like fried rice cake (rice noodles rolled up with spring onions, egg and fried shallots), stir-fried pho with seasonal veg, twice-cooked chicken wings in a sticky fish glaze and Vietnamese pork banh bao (feat. Chinese sausage and a quail egg) all on the menu. A couple of dishes from nearby countries make an appearance too – like teriyaki cod and karaage chicken from Japan, Thai papaya salad, Filipino fried rice and lumpia (spring rolls), and Binondo grilled skewers, inspired by the street food served in ‘the Chinatown of Manila’.
You can wash it all down with a homemade jackfruit spritz, beer, or coffee (served the Vietnamese way, with condensed milk)… but really, it would be a waste not to sling some vodka in there too, like you’ll find in their Drip Tini.
You’ll want more than a drop.
NOTE: Banh Bao Brothers is open for dinner daily, and lunch Tues-Sun. You can find out more, and book, right HERE.
Banh Bao Brothers | 20 Leake Street, London SE1 7NN
Like dining in railway arches? Take a trip to Arabica