Au Lac, N5 2XE
- 020 7704 9187
- 82 Highbury Park, N5 2XE
- 5:30pm-11pm Mon-Wed; noon-2:30pm, 5:30pm-11pm Thu-Fri; 5:30pm-11pm Sat-Sun
Vietnamese restaurant in Highbury. It's dimly lit and cosy, seating around 50 people.
The menu includes some Chinese dishes as well as Vietnamese. However, the Vietnamese specialties include seafood starters, such as squid with garlic and chilli, banh xeo (billed as "traditional Vietnamese pancake"), cold chicken and prawn salads (lotus shoots, kohlrabi and morning glory), curry dishes, crispy tilapia, and pho (a kind of noodle soup). They also have a vegetarian selection which includes food appropriate for vegans.
Kake visited on a Thursday lunchtime in July 2013. There was only one other customer present while I was there. No music was playing. Although Allolex has previously noted the restaurant advertising air conditioning in summer, it wasn't apparent on this visit. A dish of prawn crackers was brought as I sat down (and didn't appear on the bill). Tap water arrived promptly on request.
Rice vermicelli with chargrilled fillet fish (£7) photo was pretty good. The vermicelli was cooked competently, the pickled carrot and daikon were nicely-judged, and the shredded lettuce was fresh and showed competent knifework. The fish itself was beautifully done; tender and non-greasy.
They also deliver to the surrounding areas, within 2 miles of their location, usually quite promptly. Allolex has often received deliveries within 20 minutes of ordering.
Allolex's verdict: Au Lac is well-known in the neighbourhoods surrounding Highbury Park and Blackstock Road. The quality of the food is fairly consistent, the weekends showing the least consistency. There have been periods where I've ordered from Au Lac twice a week. I'm a big fan of their food since it's always tasty and not laden with grease like a lot of East Asian takeaways are.
Kake's verdict: I'd come back if I was passing through the area — I'd like to try the pho, and my experience with the grilled fish suggests the grilled meats might be worth a try too.
Accessibility: A step to get in; this is downwards, and not immediately obvious, so take care on entering. The toilets are down a flight of stairs with a handrail on one side that doesn't go all the way down.