Thanh Binh Vietnamese Restaurant Camden Town
Thanh Binh is one of the few Vietnamese restaurants in North London. What’s the first thing you picture, when you think about Camden Town? You hear the street buzzing as soon as you walk along the main road from Camden Town underground station. You find punk, rock, tourists and teens alike filling the vibrant area along with the market stalls. North London’s, truly unique destination.
There’s a destination you should check out. Like many others in the hospitality sector, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many restaurants to close down permanently. The original owners of Thanh Binh in Camden Town shut its doors permanently in the summer this year. Binh first opened her restaurant in 1990 for over three decades and it was loved by locals in the Kentish Town area. Lucky for us a new era has begun and the new owners have revived the Vietnamese restaurant.
A new era for Thanh Binh restaurant
It still has the same green and yellow signage as before, but have been redecorated inside for a fresher look. Thanh Binh is located along with Chalk Farm right next to the bridge and the popular Camden Market, near Camden Lock.
The restaurant is still family-run, and you may find the food taste familiar. As the head chef, Tam has worked in many of the top Vietnamese around London for over 25 years. Such as Song Que, Mien Tay, Tre Viet, Hanoi Pho, and many others.
The menu is comprehensive with a lot of choices to choose from, summer rolls, spring rolls, grilled meats, curries, stir fry’s, soup noodles, salads, wok-fried food and more. Also as one of the chefs is vegan there are vegan choices available on the menu.
I highly suggest going with a group of people and ordering a few plates to share amongst yourself. As with most Asian cuisines food brings you together.
Gỏi cuốn tôm prawn summer rolls
To start we had the Gỏi cuốn tôm prawn summer rolls (£6), four translucent rice paper rolls stuffed with greens, vermicelli noodles and prawns, served with a hoisin dipping sauce. These are light starters to work your way up for the feast.
Chả nem thịt
Chả nem thịt are deep-fried pork and prawn rolls (£6.5), that have a bubbly texture, made to be dunked into Nước chấm sweet and savoury dipping sauce. There are even more fresh herbs to eat spring rolls the Vietnamese way, by layering different leaves into the palm of your hand and filling up with pickled carrots, daikon and the spring roll. Before taking one big mouthful to consume it all.
Nộm xoài đậu hũ Green Mango salad with tofu
Nộm xoài đậu hũ green mango salad with tofu (£9), is a real surprise. Carefully crafted with multi-dimensions of textures, and flavours on a plate. Slices of fried tofu, tartness of the green mango, crispy onions, chilis, pickled carrots, chopped mint, prawn crackers and crushed peanuts.
Mực muối ớt Salt and Pepper Squid
Ordering any of the salt and pepper starters can look deceiving. The salt and pepper squid Mực muối ớt (£9.50) comes coated in white snow potato flour, but rest assured it is a light crunchy batter. I do wish that you could taste more of the salt and pepper in this dish.
Bò lúc lắc Shaking beef
Bò lúc lắc Shaking beef (£12) is a must here, the generous portions of tenderised succulent beef cubes are coated in onions, white sesame seeds, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, red and green peppers in a soy sauce.
Bánh xèo tôm
The Bánh xèo tôm (£11) lands on the table, a turmeric-coloured pancake, stuffed with bean sprouts, prawns and chicken pieces.
Phở bò tái Beef Pho
A bowl of soup noodles is always rejuvenating for the soul, Thanh Binh gives you plenty of pho rice stick noodles in their portion. The soup noodles Pho and Bun were slightly underwhelming, as it was not seasoned enough at the time of visiting. However, I learned the chef forgot to add salt to the soup pot and can be forgiven. As I noticed the soup broth had natural aromatic flavours and wasn’t overloaded with black pepper-like other Vietnamese restaurants I’ve been to.
Vietnamese iced coffee
Drinks are whipped up with a lot of care, ice Vietnamese is shaken in a cocktail maker, and you get the satisfying froth on the top of the glass. Homemade lemonade is made to order, fresh lemon and lime juice, sugar topped with water.
The second visit
On my second visit to Thanh Binh, there was one particular dish I was blown away by. Bún thịt nướng grilled pork salad (£12). The all-in-one dish comes with chewy rice vermicelli noodles, fresh coriander, lettuce, matchstick cucumbers, pickled carrots, daikon, crispy shallots. The outstanding part is the grilled pork, an unforgettable taste. The pork is sandwiched between a metal grill, cooked over an open flame. The char on the exterior and sugar used in the marinade gives it that caramelised taste. The dish is served Hanoi style with a bowl of sauce and grilled pork pieces.
Bún thịt nướng
Tôm muối ớt Salt and Pepper King prawns
Tôm muối ớt Salt and Pepper King prawns (£8.50) tasted better, more fragrant with the added aromatics of adding the fried red onions and spring onions.
Cơm cà ri Gà Chicken curry
Cơm cà ri Gà Chicken curry (£12) is a mild curry, with hardly any heat on the chilli scale. It has plenty of chicken pieces, onions, peppers and potatoes.
The staff at Thanh Binh welcomes you with open arms, take the time to chat is open to taking criticism and feedback on the food.
Thanh Binh is sincere in cooking, using the best ingredients, to bring out the authentic Vietnamese cuisine and is very generous in their portions. The price point might be more expensive compared to East London, but you get your money’s worth.
Est. 1990, now reopened with new management and owner
Must-have dishes: Bún thịt nướng grilled pork salad noodles, Nộm xoài đậu hũ green mango salad with tofu, Bò lúc lắc Shaking Beef, Iced Vietnamese coffee.
Price: Moderate ££
Nearest Station: Camden Road, Camden Town, Kentish Town
For more information on Thanh Binh
For more information visit Thanh Binh website
14 Chalk Farm Rd, London, NW1 8AG