Hackney’s Kingsland Road (or ‘Little Hanoi’) is to Vietnamese food what Brick Lane is to curry. Here you’ll find an array of Vietnamese-run restaurants and cafés, most of which serve decent enough grub (try Au Lac at 104, Viet Hoa at 74 or Song Que at 134), although some can be severely lacking in atmosphere. However, for the best food – and certainly the most lively ambience – head for Viet Grill, the new big sis of the also excellent Cay Tre (301 Old Street, EC1; 020 7729 8662). Food is authentic, fragrant and delicious, with a wonderfully named house special of cha ca la vong – marinated fish, stir-fried with dill and fennel – plus Indochine beef (like sweetly aromatic carpaccio) and a brilliant version of the classic Vietnamese noodle soup pho (pronounced like the French ‘feu’). The room is rather utilitarian and canteen-like – as is the way in Little Hanoi – but the sweet, black-clad Vietnamese staff harbour none of the grandeur of your average EAT entry. It’s a good – and not all that prodigal – idea to sample several of the dishes, though a bowl of pho perfectly lines the stomach before burrowing deep into the East End in search of an all-night happening.