If there are support groups out there for Vietnamese food addiction then I am an unregistered member.  I adore the stuff.  Fresh summer rolls of vegetables, meat or fish rolled up in an envelope of rice paper; soothing, hot Pho that cures all ailments with slurp-up-sharp noodles or crunchy baguettes piled with slow roasted meats, fish or salad… the list quite literally goes on when it comes to plates to enjoy from this Asian cuisine.

It simply encompasses the basic elements that all food should employ; fresh, flavoursome and healthy.  For about ten years now I would profess to have an unusually obsessive interest in Vietnamese food, starting authentically with sharing a home-cooked meal with a friend’s family.  Her father cooked up a feast of make-your-own rice paper rolls (which I initially over-filled.  Such a rookie error) with a wide choice of finely chopped vegetables and bunches of herbs, teared up methodically to compliment the main meat or fish to add to the concoction.  Vermicelli noodles too, in any shape, way or form are also slid into the edible gift package and the mumbles of gratification whilst eating these are unanimous.

So having frequented many a Pho-serving establishment already, I am delighted with a new offering placed perfectly between Old Street and the already long standing community in Kingsland Road.

Banhmi11 first got my attention at the FEAST Festival and now they have acquired a premises on Great Eastern Street.  They also offer up their wares on a Saturday in Broadway Market, however it is useful to know when in the Old Street area that they operate indoors from Monday to Friday between 10-4 (here’s hoping their weekends will have open doors soon too).

A continuous stream of music and digital professionals are currently leaving full-handed when I arrive and the display of food on offer mirrors the simplicity and transparency of their menu.  All ingredients are on display (very artfully I might add) and the production line of attentive staff serve speedily behind the counter for your choice of dish.  To simplify terms, imagine a Vietnamese Subway (excuse the evil commercial comparison), just reverse the quality of product when eating at Banhmi11.  Choose baguette, noodle salad or soup then protein accompaniment (tofu also an option) and you will be provided with the contents in a sealed cardboard parcel of joy.  My personal favourite is the Fish Q (which is simply Catfish), lightly dressed (I opt for spicy) and with rice noodle salad which includes shredded carrots, beansprouts and cucumber, with a sprinkling of crushed peanuts and shallots.  Simple, very edible and highly impressionable.

The summer roll was dessert for me as unfortunately their delivery man failed to bring the sweets (only another reason to return) and it was a perfect punctuated full-stop to my wonderful lunch.  A digestif was then opted for in the form of a Vietnamese coffee which is usually served with condensed milk however I fear the dentist will never forgive me had I succumbed to this saccharine version.  So I stick to black and its provided drip-style, as is typical, providing me with a friendly jolt of adrenalin to continue my long afternoon.

Their slogan is 11 bites of love, however I lay claim to beating that challenge (perhaps interpreting it rather too competitively).

Show your support and drum your chopsticks for more!  This is a new Vietnamese eating place to embrace.

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