Saturday, 26 July 2014

Urban Orient

It feels like another storm's brewing, and, as seems to have become the norm in recent years, summer rain increasingly resembles the monsoons of Southeast Asia. So, with that in mind, the spicy cuisine of Vietnam is calling. Huong Nguyen opened Urban Orient on the site of an existing restaurant in September 2012. The food is a mix of traditional and contemporary Vietnamese, with the addition of that Hong Kong favourite, Dim Sum. The restaurant interior is a similar mix of influences, but dominating it is the stunning carved wooden screen, which comes from Thailand. Despite being a full time accountant, Huong managed to find time to set up the business, and put together the interior, and now spends her evenings and weekends working in the restaurant too. Having spent many years living in North London, she decided against opening a restaurant in the Vietnamese enclaves of Dalston and Hoxton, preferring instead the comparatively peaceful surroundings of SE19. Although coincidentally she was to discover that this corner of the Triangle has its own Vienamese community, with the dry cleaners and off license opposite being Vietnamese owned. Huong also feels a strong sense of camaraderie between her restaurant and some of her neighbours, such as the White Hart, taking deliveries on behalf of each other, or borrowing that proverbial 'cup of sugar' in emergency.
Well the possibility of a storm seems to have abated for now, so I may have to wander up the hill for some noodle soup and crispy wontons. See you there!

Huong Nguyen

Urban Orient
74 Westow Street

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