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January 15th, 2011 at 5:59 pm

For those wary of 'street food' here is your answer - clean, quality Vietnamese food within a great courtyard atmosphere.

Let me start by saying there is no substitute for hitting the street, in search of those elusive food purveyors selling some of the less well known dishes of rat, dog, cat & frog - the truly authentic 'good stuff' - however for those who feel a homogenised 'clean' alternative is necessary, read on, as this is the place for you.

I'm working my way through the menu & currently half way in - if you're unsure of what to order wander around & have a good 'butchers' at what's on offer; point, ask & all will be revealed - I quite often dine solo -'sad bastard'!- & occasionally i've no idea what it is i've ordered! the resulting dishes are always good, if not a little surprising for the kind friendly staff who humour me, as I ponder the new arrivals 'provenence'!

Tapioca Cakes with Dried Shrimp are reminiscent of something very male! & when dipped in the spicy sour sauce they really take off, with texture & flavour making these a perfect entree to a hot date! not for the faint hearted!

Button Quail Salad - subtley smoked, on the bone, generous raw vegetable salad with a piquant dressing worthy of any London brasserie - I eat it 'bones n all' - adds to the flavour!

Last night for 120k vnd we splashed out on a Shrimp Sugar Cane Pancake - superb - it arrives with fresh rice paper to roll your own, saladings, herbs, a different dipping sauce- the restauarnt was roaring, however our waiter found time to put on his gloves & peel the prawns for us - was it the 'tip' he wanted or just to 'gawp' at my particularly gorgeous dinng companion? hey ho, it was a classy touch!

This place is busy & to accommodate us they have staff by the bus load - I've never encountered a problem here, but those who do should simply ask for help! - like so many Vietnamese establishments, English is spoken & with a courteous tone 'everything' is possible - though miracles take time!

Beef Stew cooked in Red Wine with Baguette - delicious on a cold winters evening - the Malaysian couple next to me were so taken with it, they ordered the same!

Noodle Soups, Crispy Noodles with Fried Beef & Morning Glory - really very good indeed - perhaps a little homogenised for some, but I couldn't fault it.

One of my favourites is Shrimp Cakes from somewhere or other - whole shrimp in a light batter with a clear sour dipping sauce - off the scale & other than when eaten on Phu Quoc Island, the best to date.

Quan an Ngon caters for all budgets from 65k vnd upto serious money!

Its a great concept, the best advice is, 'get involved', drink hot tea & remember it always busy, which frankly is a bloody good thing as this ensures the food is extraordinarily fresh.