Nothing says ‘I love you’ like taking your other half to an industrial estate for a birthday meal. Come on darling we’re going out, get your coat and your hi vis vest. Of course, I didn’t pick any old industrial estate for my partners 41st birthday, we didn’t dine at B&Q and go on to an after party at Kwik Fit. We went to Ravenswood, possibly the most exciting industrial estate on the planet, or at least the best one on this side of the River Lea. Home to Gods Own Junk Yard, Wildcard Brewery, Pillars Brewery and Mothers Ruin, Ravenswood is a bit of destination these days. And for birthday 41, we headed to Mothers Ruin Gin Palace to sample the delights of Hanoi Ca Phe.
Mothers Ruin isn’t just a Gin Palace and provider of the very finest cocktails, it’s also home to a number of pop ups. On Friday and Saturday nights various foodies set up home in the kitchen and cook for the good folk of Walthamstow. Hanoi Ca Phe, is one of those pop ups, specialising in Vietnamese Street Food. I’d seen them popping up around Walthamstow and Leyton but hadn’t managed to try them out. When their pop up coincided with birthday shenanigans, I had the perfect excuse to try them out, and treat my other half at the same time.
The Gin Palace takes on a different feeling at night. Low lighting ripples up the white brick walls, gentle music fills the air, and the hum of voices rise up in to the high ceiling of this old munitions factory. It’s a bit like a speak easy, nothing indicates what lies beyond the front door. Yes I know it’s on an industrial estate but it makes the perfect setting for a meal. The atmosphere is relaxed, the service is always good, and the staff friendly. So, with a great setting, and drinks designed to celebrate with, what was the food like? Well, it didn’t disappoint.
The menu was short but good. Starters of Nem (spring rolls), and mains of vegetable or chicken curry served with jasmine rice. When the food arrived at our table the smell was incredible. The steam curled up towards the wooden ceiling carrying the scent of lemongrass, lime leaves and coconut. The smell of the food and the taste of Vietnam just added to the atmosphere of the gin-palace. I fear I may be turning in to Nigel Slater, but you get the picture, the food and venue was incredible. And with nothing on the menu costing more than £8, it was also pretty reasonably priced.
We had a fantastic birthday with Hanoi Ca Phe at Mothers Ruin, and the good news is you haven’t missed out, they are popping up again on Friday 10th and Saturday 11th November. So if you fancy sipping cocktails and feasting on the finest Vietnamese cuisine, get down to Mothers Ruin this weekend. And if you miss them, you can also catch Hanoi Ca Phe at Hoe Street Market on Sunday 12th.