New Loong Kee Cafe, SE5 0HB
- 020 7708 3312
- 179 Camberwell Road
- noon-3pm, 5pm-11pm Mon-Thu; noon-midnight Fri-Sat; noon-11pm Sun
When secretlondon went past in January 2011, the shutters were down and there was a large TO LET sign in the window. As of March 2011, a comment on CamberwellOnline reports that the premises have been taken over by a kebab shop.
The information below is retained for people who want to know what it used to be like as New Loong Kee.
They are licensed, and stock beers (including Tsing Tao) and spirits, but not wine. They also do takeaway and will deliver if you spend more than £10.
It's fairly nice inside, with art on the walls and little vases of (fake) flowers on the tables. There are seven tables, all seating 6-8 people, most of which could be broken up for smaller groups. A flatscreen TV by the bar seems to be mainly for the benefit of the staff, as it isn't really visible from most of the tables.
secretlondon visited on a Sunday evening in August 2008. There were a few people in (but no other non-East Asian people, which I took to be a good sign). There was no background music, but the flatscreen was showing a martial arts film on Channel 5. I had Bahn Xeo Thit Ga (Vietnamese coconut pancake with chicken, served with salad, £4) photo and fresh iced lemon juice (£1.50). The food was fine, though I admit to not knowing a great deal about Vietnamese food.
On later visits, secretlondon discovered that the food can be very variable; sometimes the same dish can be completely different.
Kake visited on a Sunday afternoon in December 2008. I was the only customer throughout my visit, though I did arrive at an odd time (2:15pm). The staff were watching something in Vietnamese on the flatscreen, though shortly after I arrived they switched it over to what sounded like vintage British comedy. I had the pho bo dac biet (noodle soup with three types of beef, £5) photo. It arrived fairly quickly, as did the glass of tap water I asked for. Unfortunately it was rather disappointing. The broth was quite one-dimensional, with none of the subtle, complex flavour that I've tasted elsewhere. The beef was nothing special, and the sliced component was sliced too thickly and also overcooked. The usual garnishes that come on the side (beansprouts, herbs, sliced chillies, lemons) were absent. I certainly wouldn't order this again.
Kake's verdict: On the strength of this visit, I normally wouldn't bother coming back to try anything else, but the Chowhound thread linked below suggests that the chargrilled lamb and the summer rolls are better, so I might pop in again if I'm passing.
Accessibility: Two steps to get in, and two steps to the toilets. The toilet cubicles are also fairly cramped.