Historical version 12 of Royal Margin, SE16 2UN
- 020 7232 5118
- 176-178 Lower Road, SE16 2UN
As a local takeaway, this place is perfectly fine; and since you can order online (see below) it's probably one of our favourites out of the SE16 takeaways we've sampled so far. (It's also a restaurant, but we haven't yet tried eat-in; to be honest, it's probably not worth the journey.)
Formerly known as Hue, it offers a range of Vietnamese dishes as well as a small selection of Chinese and Thai dishes. Normally this lack of specialisation is a bad thing, but most things Kake, Bob, and doop have tried from the Royal Margin so far have been quite competent. The Thai dishes, however, aren't very Thai-like, so it might be best to stick to the Vietnamese offerings.
Sugar cane prawns (minced prawns wrapped around a stick of sugar cane, £4.80) aren't bad at all, while chargrilled pork balls (£4.95) are good and moist, but could do with a bit more spicing. Vietnamese spring rolls (£3.60) are a bit greasy, and bear more than slight resemblance to deep-fried battered sausages, but are very nice with the accompanying sweetened fish sauce.
Pad Thai (£5.20) is again competent, but almost entirely devoid of chilli. We've ordered the braised pork belly (£4.95) several times, and it's always good - and a welcome change from the usual cuts of meat. Vietnamese steamed crepes (£4.95) aren't bad at all, but could sometimes do with a bit more seasoning. Steamed rice (£1.50) is fairly average (I'm sure I remember it being notably good when we started using this place, but it's been consistently average in recent months). Yum Jai ("Thai spicy fresh salad", £4.50) is disappointing; chunks of tomato with a few bits of celery and cucumber in an overly sweet sauce.
They do offer pho, in both beef and chicken varieties. Kake is very far from a pho expert so can't really comment except to say that both varieties are quite tasty from a naive viewpoint, but I do wish they wouldn't cram so many noodles into the container; the portion's too large for the amount of soup, and it just makes them stick together.
The only really bad dish we've had from here was the vegetarian noodles (£4.50), which were lacking the advertised tofu, and in places were hard to the point of inedibility.
You can order and pay online at http://royalmargin.justeat.co.uk/ but note that this is possibly not the best option. An employee once told me on the phone that they don't bother checking the internet orders if they're busy (after I phoned up to ask why our food still hadn't arrived 45 minutes after the expected delivery time). This has only happened once though; most of the time it works fine.
Note also that (as of March 2008) the Just Eat menu is slightly out of date; they no longer do the advertised "sesame yam toast".
Comment added by Kake: Hot and sour soup isn't hot in the slightest, but fairly tasty. Would have preferred fewer tomato skins, and fewer bones in the catfish pieces.