"Eat your way around the world in London" took the Northern Line up to Waterloo with the intention of carving a notch for Cubana on its bedpost last night but it wasn't to be. The place was fully booked and packed to the gills so we wandered off into the twilight looking for fresh prey and concocting elaborate conspiracy theories in which everyone who had got to the "genuine Cuban-Latino place run by the people who own it" before us had been sent by Red Ken on expenses.
The Fates were smiling however because nearby we came across the Vietnamese Ha-Noi cafe. We tried ordering Bo nhung Dam Cuon Banh Trang from the specialities section of the menu (largely because I liked the name of it so much) but were told that it was unavailable, because they had run out of pancakes(?) so we didn't get to find out what Vietnamese beef fondue might be like, but we did fall into conversation with the waitress about our project. She told us that her father was the chef, that she had come to help him out "temporarily" five months ago, and that in the first couple of months she was there she had gained 9kg; weight that she had only managed to shift - she seemed svelte enough to me - by giving up eating after 6pm, and took us in hand with regards to the grub.
Garlic fried cubes of fillet steak was the kind of thing that her father would cook for family apparently, so we had some of that with a special Saigon prawn curry along with rice and noodles, after deep fried squid and Tom Yum Koong (a prawn soup.)
Thus entirely by chance we had come across a great place to eat run by a warm and friendly family. It struck me as we were walking back to the station that I don't think that I have ever had a conversation with a Vietnamese person before, and that these sort of encounters are one of joys of this mad scheme for Wednesday nights.