[Edit: Their shredded caramel pork banh mi is much better than this one. Try it].
I’ve searched for a bánh mì in London (without success) since I first arrived, so I was amazed to find I have been working a measly two minute stroll away from one (Café Bay has five different Vietnamese fillings on the menu), for the last two and a half years.
Café Bay (Camberwell) – Bánh Mì.
Where: 75 Denmark Hill, London, SE5 8RS.
When: 5th Feb – lunchtime.
What: Bánh Mì is a Vietnamese sandwich, featuring contrasting flavours and textures usually including pickled vegetables, chilli, cucumber and spiced meat – in a baguette.
Bread: A bog standard baguette, the really soft kind. Not usually a personal favourite but I liked it for the bánh mì.
Flavour: I thought it only right and proper to go for the ‘Bay Special’, pâté with two kinds of pork – spiced and ‘regular’. So, we have chilli on the bottom, then the spiced meat, then the rich pâté, mayonnaise, crunchy cucumber, fresh coriander and awesome pickled carrot (I was sad when I realised there was no daikon). It’s all about the contrasts. There’s one major problem, but that’s coming next.
Quality: The spiced pork also had huge, tough, rubbery flabs of fat, with a really hard ‘rind’. I’m always up for pork fat but I couldn’t eat it. Shame, because the spicing was tasty. There was also luncheon meat. [Edit: I've since come around to luncheon meat - guilty pleasure ahoy. See my SPAM mi]
Quantity: Average lunchtime baguette size.
Textures: Lots of great contrasts, apart from the pork rind/fat stuff.
Spreads/Dressings/Sauces: The combo of mayo and pâté was a bit alien to me at first but I really got into it.
Assembly: Lightning fast and sound. Good even distribution.
Value for Money: £3
Service: The lady who makes the sandwiches smiled and spoke to me for the first time ever when I ordered this – mostly I rock up with a hangover and ask for a bacon butty. I think she was pleased with me.
Overall Score: 6/10