Restaurant review: Viet Guy, Lower Briggate, Leeds

PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
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Behind a fairly non-descript frontage on Lower Briggate, you’ll find a Vietnamese restaurant that’s considered by many as one of the city’s best.

When a friend visited and wanted to go somewhere with a good reputation for Southeast Asian cuisine, I thought it was time to find out for myself why Viet Guy came so highly rated.

On her last visit, she had eaten at high end Chinese restaurant Tattu which has what must be one of the most extravagant interior designs of any dinner spot in the city.

Viet Guy was something of a stark contrast then with its simple layout and basic decor that would benefit from a bit of attention now in places.

They say you should never judge a book by the cover and that’s certainly true in this case, but those who are unaware of the positive reviews its food regularly gets might never give this place a second look and that would be a shame.

Greeted by the polite and friendly waiting staff, we found around a dozen other diners scattered at tables around the restaurant on what was a quieter midweek night.

We skipped the starters and went straight for the main courses, with my friend choosing her favourite dish – Bo Tai Pho (£9).

Served up in a huge bowl, the traditional Vietnamese noodle soup received a thumbs up for its delicious broth complete with pieces of tender steak.

Having decided against soup or noodles myself, I chose from the ‘Coconut Sizzingling’ section of the menu which promises marinated meat with onions, spring onion and rice paddy herb in coconut sauce, served up on a searing platter.

As with most parts of the menu, there’s a wide choice when it comes to the meat – chicken, beef, pork, seafood or roast duck – and I opted for the beef (£8.50) along with a side of steamed rice (£2).

Arriving on a sizzling platter as promised, this simple looking dish was wonderfully fragrant and the beef was beautifully tender.

With the side of perfectly cooked rice, the generous portions proved more than I could manage but it was so enjoyable that I wished I could have finished the lot.

It’s worth mentioning that there was a tofu option for this dish, like the pho, and any vegetarian diners will find themselves well catered for here too, with various options across the noodle, soup, rice and curry sections of the menu.

The restaurant is also fully licensed with beer, wines and spirits on offer but we both opted for the refreshing Vietnamese lemonade (£3) on what was proving to be another hot and sticky day.

Just as the food was found to be well deserving of its good reputation, so too was the service which was excellent throughout our visit.