Feb 18 2015

Bep Haus

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As you may remember from my previous reviews, I absolutely love the Vietnamese casual café/ restaurant City Caphe (MMMMm) near bank station, and whenever I am near bank station, I try to go there. I was therefore very excited when one of my friends told me that another Vietnamese restaurant – Bep Haus – had opened also near the bank station, and I was keen to go and try it out. Unfortunately Bep Haus and City Caphe are like night and day, they could not serve more different food.

To do a good review on Bep Haus I visited it three times, and you can’t imagine how upset I was when I knew I had to visit this place for the second and also the third time and eat their not very good Vietnamese food, when I knew City Caphe was just around the corner. It was food torture.

Bếp means kitchen in Vietnamese and Haus reflects the importance of home, so together Bep Haus is “kitchen house”, and according to them “open-kitchen shared with others”. It is the second venture of Hanoi born Van Tran & Anh Vu (they also opened a Banh Mi 11 market stall in Broadway Market in 2008). Bep Haus is a small little place, just like City Caphe, but in contrast you don’t really have much space to eat inside, you must take away the food. In contrast to the Asian/ Vietnamese people working in City Caphe, Bep Haus has European people working there, and you can watch your food being served from large containers.

The menu seems “less Vietnamese” than the menu of City Caphe. It has all the things City Caphe would serve – rice and noodle dishes, pho soups, spring and summer rolls as well as Vietnamese Banh Mi baguettes, but the filling and the content of the dishes is definitely a bit strange.

The second time I came here I ordered the Bun Bo Hue soup, which is like a spicy pho and comes from the city Hue, which was supposed to be a “Spicy, lemongrass beef noodle soup” (for £6.50). as well as the pork belly summer rolls (for £1.95 each). The price was the only similarity between these dishes and the same dishes in City Caphe. The pork belly summer rolls were badly rolled, too lose, one of them broke as you can see from the picture, which means only an amateur could have rolled it (it does not even happen to me). The balance of the pork belly vs the rice noodles and the herbs was all wrong, affecting the taste, there was too much lettuce and herbs, and also they did not give you enough dipping sauce to go with the roll, it was a shockingly bad summer roll in so many ways.

The Bun Bo Hue soup was not much better, it felt like a weird soup, made with some weird stock out of a package or something, it did not resemble the taste of a Bun Bo Hue at all. I could not fell any lemongrass, the soup did not have that traditional red colour Bun Bo Hue is supposed to have (see the picture below) and there was almost no spice/ chilli in it, the whole point of this soup. I go to City Caphe and all the time ask for a Bun Bo Hue with flat rice noodles, and they get me, and when I asked for this once in Bep Haus, they gave me a pho.

My third visit unfortunately was not much better and I ordered the Pork & prawn spring rolls (for £2.15 each) and crackling pork belly with vermicelli rice noodles. I was quite excited about the crackling pork belly, as the menu said I would get a “Slow-roasted crackling pork belly with seven spices rub” for £6.50. The pork was actually quite nice, although very fattening, and the rice noodles were rice noodles, but I did not think the taste of this dish was Vietnamese at all. The dish had no Vietnamese sauce and also there was red cabbage and white cabbage as salad to go with the rice noodles and pork, vegetables I have not seen in Vietnamese cooking, and especially in these rice vermicelli dishes. This dish to me had nothing to do with Vietnam, it was pork, rice noodles and some strange vegetables all mixed together. The taste was not bad, it was just not what I expected. The spring rolls were bad too, like a mush of ingredients, again with too little sauce (and I have no clue what this sauce was once again, as it did not taste that Vietnamese).

The good thing about Bep Haus is that every time I go there, there is no queue outside the restaurant, as opposed to City Caphe where the queue can be super long. This clearly means I am not alone in thinking this place can’t do good Vietnamese food. Also I am very excited about the fact that now I have finished my Bep Haus review, I can happily go back to spending my lunch money in City Caphe whenever I am next to bank station.

Date: unfortunately too many visits here on many dates…
Location: Bank
Price per person: around £10

Bep Haus on Urbanspoon

Maija rated: 

2.00

Location: 

Bep Haus
40 Bow Lane EC4M 9DT
London
United Kingdom
GB
Bep Haus Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 2