It’s good to see a pan-Asian hotspot that doesn’t seemed fazed by the dominance of Alan Yau’s growing Busaba Eathai chain nearby; planted off Oxford Street, East Street’s entry onto the West End foodie scene is bold, brash and laden with ambitious intentions, yet executed in a delightfully quirky fashion. The menu boasts of street food from seven Asian regions – yes, 7! – and the style of the venue is raw and novel, assaulting the senses with neons, gigantic signs and plenty of kitsch references (like the Anime short being projected on a wall; cute touch).
So it’s interesting than there’s almost a fine-dining approach to the food, which is delicious and beautifully-presented, but in much smaller portions than expected. If anything, this inspired my dinner buddy and I to eat the communal way (which is really, the Asian way), and we started with a side of quality yakitori and the tampopo platter (£11.95), a choice collection of goi cuon (Vietnamese spring rolls), gyoza, bulgogi (marinated beef), coconut prawns, satay and tod mun khai pod (corn fritters) that was gobbled up within minutes. For mains, the daging lembu goreng (rump steak, ginger, shallot in oyster sauce – £8.75) from Malaysia was a delicate option with jasmine rice, but it was the ga xao xa ot (chicken breast green pepper, carrot, red chillies and lemon grass -£7.25), that had the brilliant kick, and was a welcome introduction to food from Vietnam.
Desserts were equally if not more than noteworthy – especially the cinnamon ice cream (£3.85), a brilliant fusion of cream and spice, while the passionfruit syllabub (£4.85) was a luxurious dollop of citrus cream, which was made the more guilty with only a slight sprinkling of amaretti biscuit pieces.
From a price perspective, East Street is certainly pocket-friendly – and with the quality food and novel touches that plucks all the best bits from the Asian continent, it’ll certainly be the one newcomer in town to watch out for in 2012. (Words: Matilda Egere-Cooper)East Street Restaurant, 3-5 Rathbone Place Tube: Tottenham Court Road Price: (££)£££ Further info: www.eaststreetrestaurant.com