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Full Bellies At Banh Mi Keu Deli, Soho

Ask anyone lucky enough to have been to Vietnam what one should eat there, and misty-eyed, slack-jawed, they’re likely to reply, “Mmm, banh mi”.

A crusty baguette with the soft middle scooped out, this lunchtime staple hails from the 1860s, when Vietnam was part of Indochina and thus colonised by the French. Wander the streets of Hanoi and you’ll still find remnants of that time, most visible in the stunning European architecture and queues of workers waiting to get their hands on a French stick stuffed with pork, pâté, chilli and lemongrass.

Keu Deli brings the best of this happy culture clash to Shoreditch and Soho, with swift service and a short menu designed to please busy Londoners in need of a quick, tasty bite.

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We dropped into the Soho branch, just opposite Fashionbite favourite Phonica record shop and quickly got stuck into the banh mi menu. Opting for the Keu classic, we tried the ‘Original Banh Mi’: Mortadella sausage, pork floss, homemade chicken liver paté, spiced pork belly, spicy mayo & ham terrine, sandwiched in a super fresh French stick. Warm and homely, the flavours pack a real punch, carrots, cucumber, chilli and pickled daikon adding freshness to the juicy meats.

Veggie options include smoked aubergine and mushroom, while meat eaters can also get their shops around coconut chicken curry, Canton roast duck and BBQ roast pork. Elsewhere on the menu you’ll find My Tho Noodle Soup (prawns, rice noodles, slow-poached egg and Chinese celery steeped in 24-hour pork bone broth).

Lighter bites include summer rolls and steamed buns, but if you’re really starving we can heartily recommend the roast mix noodles, throwing together crispy pork belly, Char siu, honey roast duck, greens and egg noodles.

ANYTHING ELSE? End the meal with a (super strong) Vietnamese drip coffee and you can be on your way in less than an hour.

WEBSITE: Banhmikeu.co.uk

ADDRESS: 9 Poland St, Soho, London W1F 8PY

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