UPDATE - THIS PARTICULAR INCARNATION OF VIET BAGUETTE IN CHARLOTTE PLACE HAS CLOSED...I must admit I was not aware of banh-mi - otherwise known as Vietnamese baguettes. I have been to Indochina, specifically Laos and one of the many things I loved about that country was the French influences side by side with the local ones. When I first arrived in Vientiane, the last thing I expected to see was a French bakery - but there it was! This colonial influence lies at the heart of the bahn-mi where traditional Vietnamese fillings are stacked into a baguette - nice combo. Normally pork based - the banh-mi on offer at Viet in Charlotte Place (also home to the wonderful Lantana) include caramel chicken (chicken cooked in caramel sauce with black pepper and ginger) and lemongrass beef meatballs. They all come with pickled carrots, coriander, spring onion and chilli sauce and they are all freakin' delicious. There has been some comments on various food blogs that these are not absolutely authentic, too expensive etc - blah, blah I say. These are great and at £3.70 are a bargain as they are huge sandwiches.
I love the look of the place and the presentation - the menus are printed on old paper in typewriter font and the banh-mi themselves are wrapped in butchers paper secured with a rubber band - when you open them up you find one of those funky, milky White Rabbit sweets wrapped up in the paper. Nice touch! The staff are super friendly and I can't wait to go back and try everything on the menu. You could have such a nice day on Charlotte Place - a banh-mi at Viet, followed by a flat white and brownie at Lantana, then a massage at the Walk-In Back Rub place, picking up some shopping at the health food shop and the Italian deli on your way home. Viet is a great place that does great sandwiches - just what I want round the corner from the office.