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So living in what some people call Hillgate Village (the bit with the different coloured houses behind Notting Hill gate) we do quite well for local restaurants. We have 2 fish restaurants, 2 Greek restaurants, 2 good gastro-pubs, 2 good curry houses and of course numerous places to eat pizza but apart from the ever excellent Thai kitchen at the Churchill Arms we lack a good oriental offering. Queensway isnít very far away and down towards High St Ken there is Naga but there isnít anywhere you can pop out to when the craving takes you. So my lovely wife and I were really quite excited when one of the legion of Italians was changed up into a Vietnamese restaurant. We decided to try Tem Tep the first week it opened and obviously our neighbours shared our enthusiasm as it was packed. Iíve been back recently since for takeaways and itís holding onto to its initial strong trade.
The night my lovely wife and I went we started with some crispy pork & shrimp spring rolls which were very tasty and some lovely chicken wings marinated in fish sauce. To follow I went for the chargrilled pork bun which was really tasty bowl of food but could have done with a bit more of the crispy pork. My lovely wife had the lemongrass chicken bun which she really enjoyed. We washed this down with some Hanoi beers. As I mentioned it was really busy the night we went and service was stretched at times. Some punters at a nearby table got extremely shirty refusing to leave a tip which was a bit unfortunate. Personally we found the service good, there was a little wait but we were told so and the manageress is quite a character.
Iíve been back since for a takeaway which was good though not quite as good value as the Thai from the Churchill pub. Where their takeaway does score is at lunchtime when they do excellent Bahn Mi baguettes. The 5 spice BBQ pork is a firm favourite whenever Iím working from home. All in all this is an excellent addition to the area, injecting a bit of spice into our local dining scene which can be a bit staid. The restaurant itself has a light and airy feel thanks to a big light well which I think complements their tasty food well. I wouldn't call the prices steep but probably more than you'd pay at one of the Hackney Dalston places, however for Kensington it is very reasonable and borne out by the keen clientele.
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Food 8 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 7
Tuesday, February 09, 2016
Tem Tep must be the best vietnamese restaurant I have visited outside of Vietnam, and I have done quite a few countries in and out of asia. The first obvious plus was the warm and professional welcome. The manager introduced herself as Trini and was the welcoming committee. She is definitely a star. I was immediately offered some cool water which was freshened with fruit and mint. The starters were particulary tasty, I started with the shaking beef and summer rolls. It was obvious that they paid particular attention to freshness and was told that they order everything fresh each day, no frozen or chilled food is used. The main menu is also particulary tasty where meat or sea food is dominant in the portion.
The menu is a bit pricey but we are talking about Kensington. The service is good but Asian authentic in that there is no psuedo-professional smarminess. They do need to speed up in the kitchen, but it is difficult to see how they can do this with one major chef and the place being constantly packed. This however is their problem as the place is well spaced and airy so it is a vibrant atmosphere. Definitely a young to middle aged place. Service is acceptable, but some waitresses are typically Asian in thier service, busy doesn't always suit them, but you would expect this. This however adds to the definite charm of the place. I would definitely go back ideal for tapas style meal, lots of starters and beer! I ate alone so I can't comment on pace or order of serving.
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Dr HP French
Food 9 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 8
Monday, June 08, 2015