MissChu (London) closed in January 2015
MissChu is a small and well loved Vietnamese chain of restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne. The MissChu Darlinghurst tuck shop was one of my favourite places for lunch when I lived in Sydney – I have blogged about the Darlinghurst tuck shop in a previous post. I was delighted to find that a branch had opened in London on Whitechapel High Street and I looked forward to going there to remind me of a wonderful time in Australia. I was also interested to see how MissChu would transfer to the UK. Sadly, the London branch has just closed down, a casualty of the company going into administration 😦 However, I did manage to visit to satisfy my MissChu cravings for my favourite menu items – the tiger prawn and mango rice paper rolls and the crab net spring roll salad.
For anyone who is new to the MissChu brand, the dining style is informal – they market themselves as being tuck shops rather than restaurants – and the early refugee experience of the founder (the inspirational Nahji Chu herself) is very much reflected. The ‘You ling, we bling’ slogan is part of this and you will see old pictures of her refugee visa on the takeaway menus and on the walls.
The London menu included most of the items on the Australian menu. There were plenty of gluten free options and vegetarians / vegan choices – Vietnamese food is in general not vegetarian or vegan friendly so it was great to see some veggie adaptations such as vegan pho and vegetarian bánh mì. Nice touches in the restaurant included the mobile phone chargers at the tables and free tea. The music was a bit odd though – I remember one track featured the words ‘bánh mì’ being repeated over and over again!
So what was my verdict of the London branch? Not as good as the Darlinghurst tuck shop alas. My beloved net spring roll salad fell a little short sadly – the net spring rolls were slightly overcooked and the Vietnamese dressing on the salad was not as flavoursome. The beef pho was also not on par – there was not enough broth and the portion size was smaller. They were both still tasty, (e.g Vietnamese herbs were used) and it was only because we loved the food served in Sydney so much that we felt a bit sad. The pork bánh mì was however delicous and the rice paper rolls were nice and fresh too.
The restaurant still felt quite new (which it was) and yet to find its feet. Also, for me, the laid back tuck shop approach in Sydney didn’t feel quite right in London. It was something else sitting on one of the small outside tables on Bourke Street in Sydney in the warm Australian sunshine – London seemed too cold and harsh but then it was winter.
I am sad that the London branch closed and I had planned to visit again soon to see if they had overcome their teething problems. Happily, the Australian shops are still going and let’s hope they continue to do so. #savemisschusyd
91 Whitechapel High Street
London. E1 7RA