Historical version 13 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.
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".
Bob visited the restaurant in early May. I had the beef pho photo and the Vietnamese spring rolls photo. The pho was very good and doesnt suffer from the complaints kake has about the take away version.
They do smoothies. I had the lemon and lime one. whihc wasnt smooth but was certainly freshly juiced limes and lemons. Tea is £1.
The interior of the restaurant is quite modern.they can probably seat at least 50. There were 2 large tables with lazy susans. They were playing rock music quite loudly on a sunday afternoon. There were two other customers as well as several asians coming into to buy roast duck/pork/chicken to takeaway. A whole roast duck is £12.90.
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.