“I need a noodle partner.”
“That place that used to be Laporte’s? Excellent. What time?”
It’s not difficult to recruit my friend Caroline as a last-minute lunch companion, and having recently travelled in Thailand and Vietnam, she’s a good choice to help me try out food from that very area.
For ‘Pestle & Mortar’ read ‘Honey and Ed’ who used to run the Asian grocery store in the Needlemakers. The business has moved to Lansdown Place and, while they’re still selling Asian products, the emphasis has moved to preparing hot food, and in particular bowls of noodles. Honey, from Northern Thailand, is the chef; Ed, from Lewes, the waiter.
Today’s menu is written on a blackboard, and there’s plenty of choice, catering for omnivores, vegetarians and vegans. Caroline and I both want the same main: ‘Pho with free-range beef shin, rice noodles, rich broth and crunchy fresh veg & herbs (£8.95)’. In the interest of providing variety for this review I decide to switch to a pho with chicken drumsticks, instead.
Before this arrives we try out three different starters, and they all go down a treat: first up two ‘momos’ which turn out to be gluten-free dumplings filled with mixed veg and Korean chilli with a sweet chilli dip (£1 each: warning - don’t try to eat in one go with chopsticks, à la Caroline, while they’re still piping hot); then some tofu gyoza dumplings with soy sauce (£3 for 4, could have eaten them all day), and finally some prawn summer rolls (£4.50 for 2, prawns and salad rolled up in a so-thin-it’s-semi-transparent rice pancake, yum).
4 Lansdown Place