Quick, cheap, delicious. In King's Cross!King's Cross is not really the kind of place you want to find yourself of an evening. Not only is it currently the country's biggest building site, but it's also a hive of bad kebab shops and takeaways, usually overlooking three lanes of traffic.
But there's one good pub there, the Queen's Head on Acton Street, and after a few beers we decided their pork pies were just a little too indulgent. So I rather hopelessly googled "good restaurants King's Cross" to see what was around. The result shocked even cynical me: Urbanspoon's top scoring restaurant in King's Cross was a Pret A Manger.
Further down the list, though, was Sen Viet, where the reviews told us to ignore the kebab house décor outside and risk it. I believe the words "hidden gem" would have been used had I kept reading the google reviews, but they usually have less incite than a Katie Price book. Instead we waltzed around the corner and swanned in to the restaurant, to the general astonishment of the staff. Everyone dining there was Vietnamese. Some say that's a good sign, but would you trust British expats to find the good UK restaurants? Hell no. "English" pubs abroad are always filled with Brits, but they are unerringly shit.
But Sen Viet was excellent, and deliciously cheap. With a menu longer than the bible it took a while to choose anything, but the sauce on my Thit Heo Kho (pork belly cooked in coconut juice, with eggs) was hot and sweet, and the pork belly melted like butter – which made it almost impossible to eat with chopsticks. Sadly, instead of whole eggs I got a strange almost potato-like cake of it with a bizarre texture, but that couldn't spoil the gorgeous meat and glorious gloop. Even the beer was super – they only had one type called Saigon, which had a Belgian-esque sweetness to it, presumably a happy hangover from French occupation, but slipped down like a drunken penguin on a glacier.
At £12 for mains, sides, beer and prawn crackers, it's great little cheap eat when you find yourself inexplicably caught short in King's Cross. If you go, write a review - we need to knock Pret A Manger off the top spot.