It seems as though the Kingsland/Dalston type area of London is the place to be for Vietnamese food. I'm sure at one time - not too far in the distant future - that Kingsland and Dalston were quite edgy, before it got inhabited with cool people with beards, knitted jumpers and skinny-fit jeans. I am getting old because I find this funny.
Deptford and environs however seem to remain edgy. Downright rough, in my not particularly finely-honed opinion. On the other hand, it does seem to have a coterie of Vietnamese places.
A trip to Panda Panda last month threw up a half-decent banh mi and directly over the road from this place is a large whitewashed building that houses Le Gia. I've been twice now.
First time I had some pretty decent fresh rolls and this second visit threw up a very decent pho. On both occasions I was the only person in there for lunch. Eerie. Especially when the only thing accompanying me was a) the waiter (on both times courteous and friendly, for what it's worth) but b) seemingly the Stock, Aitken and Waterman equivalent of Vietnamese pop - on karaoke for me to sing along to. If I could pronounce the words.
Anyhow - that pho. It came with a light stock, much lighter in colour than the one I had further up the DLR at Cafe East that stands as my benchmark in pho (in my limited experience) in London:
Generous amounts of beef - that in its journey from the dumb waiter down to my table had already gone from rare (if it indeed started off as rare) to cooked, but had a good flavour nonetheless. The stock itself was very savoury - maybe a slightly heavy hand on the cinnamon, but not enough to make it unlikeable and it was duly supped up. I also quite liked the noodles that came with it that were al dente (or Vietnamese equivalent) and not at all mushy.
Seeing as it's not too much of a faff of a detour to head there en route to London, I'll be back - but maybe I need to try the other places in the neighbourhood. 7.