Saturday, July 21, 2012

East Street, Cheap Pan-Asian on the Hoof

Bright signs form the background to eating at East Street: Tom Yam soup, Summer Roll and Gyoza
East Street, the new pan-Asian joint off Oxford street aims to recreate the experience of an east Asian hawker centre in London. Hawker centres are the original street food markets selling traditional delicacies fir low prices. They are the thing that my friends from Singapore, a country whose citizens seem to universally be foodies, say they miss most often.

 In order to create a similar atmosphere the interior of eat street is what you might expect if you had taken a Wagamamas and put the designers of legoland in charge after a fact finding mission to a Moroccan souk. A large open space is populated by wooden tables, bright plastic chairs and neon signs. I can't speak for the authenticity of this but I couldn't help but like it. It was fun, with some humour in the signs breaking up what could otherwise be a cold space.

Early Learning Centre meets industrial chiq
The place seems designed to be a chain and I could see it being rolled out to other locations with ease if people take to the food.

The other half and I ate there a few weeks ago en route between work and the pub to watch the football final (well, he watched). As we were in a hurry we went for the express menu which offered a main dish and side for a very reasonable £7.50.

Service was a little abrupt but efficient and our starters arrived quickly. My summer rolls were as I would hope; fresh and crunchy with a good amount of prawn although I did miss the usual peanut sauce to dip them in. Gyoza were also decent enough, though the filling was a little bland. Soon after arrived two steaming bowls. Tom Yam soup was almost overpoweringly flavoured with sour/spice with a lack of veggies and noodles to temper it but still quite satisfying. I'm told that the coconut curry was rather bland (though the spoonful I had seemed pleasant in a creamy, comforting sort of way) but he enjoyed it after adding a good dose of sriracha (a good selection of sauces was provided at the table).

The East Street sweets provided at the end of the meal were a very sweet touch
Overall it was an enjoyable meal and I have no complaints given the price. Although the food is not stand out if I am in the area and needing a quick meal or going out with a big group I would certainly bear it in mind: the food is well priced (the main menu dishes are generally under £10) with good portions and a lot more fun and variety than Wagamama or similar which I would place in the same bracket. I'll be really interested to see the future of this one as it seems perfect for expansion into a chain as Asian cookery other than Japanese and Chinese is gaining popularity.

East Street Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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