Monday, 19 July 2010

Green Papaya - 191 Mare Street, Hackney E8

Sometimes it’s really good not to have a clue about where you are going for food. We went out to meet some friends on Friday for a catch up, some good times and started drinking about four in the afternoon in an arse clenchingly expensive bar on Shaftesbury Avenue.

Only one of us had eaten at our destination before and I liked the idea of a good surprise so off we popped after a while to go get some food. When we arrived in Hackney I was very hungry and just a little pissed.

Green Papaya is a Vietnamese restaurant, it seems very popular with most tables full when we got there around eight... The d├ęcor is pretty grim in honesty and the service was quite erratic but my god was the food nice.

I went for the Salt, Chilli and Garlic White Fish starter; little nuggets of fish dusted and deep fried in the most amazing savoury, spicy coating. The portion was huge and I don’t think I've never been happier with such a simple starter.

Mains was a meat feast of Barbecued Pork Belly from the specials on reluctant recommendation from the waiter, sticky and juicy it was really good. I think I’d confused our young waiter by asking what he liked, a question he seemed unsure about.

I settled for what he deemed popular and he looked even more puzzled when I said popular doesn't necessarily mean it was good. The pork could have been improved with some sauce to help mop up the rice but I was pleased all the same.

I will say that one of our mains didn't come out till we’d finished the rest of our meals and there was a bit of a kerfuffle with the starters as well but without even asking the manager explained he would be taking the cost of the late main off our bill.

We’d been knocking back the drinks so we didn't stick around for desserts and all in for five starters, four mains, a bottle of wine and numerous Vietnamese beers the bill came to £90. I was impressed to say the least and I can honestly say I've been thinking about that starter ever since like some kind of food pervert!

After the meal we headed down the road the Dolphin where after a few more beers I promptly fell asleep, not bad for my third day in London.

Green Papaya on Urbanspoon


  1. Good effort, welcome to the city :)
    I too did the switcheroo from Leeds to London...still get the occasional pang for Little Tokyo, however hit and miss it might have been!

  2. I never went to little tokyo in my entire 10 years in Leeds. Always heard good things though, loved Wasabi Teppenyaki though!

  3. Green Papaya is a great example of the sort of great value and tasting grub you can find in London, particularly heading East. You should try out Tre Viet a little further up the road for their shaking beef, it's great.

    I love eating in this kind of place, the strange order dishes arrive in kind of adds to the slightly ramshackle charm for me.

  4. I ate Vietnamese food recently for the first time and really enjoyed it.The starters all seemed to be nicer than the main courses.

  5. @Northern Snippet Definitely agree here, the starter was amazing and could have honestly ordered it twice. I'm very much looking forward to trying some more Vietnamese places soon!

    @Grub I'll definitely be trying some of your recs soon enough thanks for those!