Date: AUTUMN, 2015
Location: KINGS CROSS, LONDON
Photography: HELEN ABRAHAM
Service: FULL DESIGN SERVICE
“A Vietnamese barbeque restaurant in King’s Cross from the chef behind Whitechapel supper club Table for 10.
CôBa is the first permanent site from Viet-Aussie chef Damon Bui, who used to run the hugely popular Table for 10 supper clubs. And it hasn’t come a moment too soon. A classy-looking restaurant with a high-spec industrial finish, it majors in kick-ass Vietnamese barbeque cooking.
The only real downer? CôBa is in a tube no-man’s land, so if you can’t get to the Overground, your choice is either a slightly sketchy 15-minute walk from Caledonian Road tube or a slightly sketchy 20-minute walk from King’s Cross station. But do it anyway.
The menu is short, with dishes apparently inspired by the kind of cooking Bui’s mother served him back in Oz. She must have been good. Pork and prawn summer rolls were punchy and refreshing (even though we usually prefer iceberg lettuce to little gem), and great value at £6 for four. Remarkably good prawn toast easily justified its eyebrow-raising price tag of £7.50, with four huge pillows of deliciously soft bread given a flick in the fryer and topped with juicy prawns, fried seaweed, sesame seeds and a winning chilli mayo.
A sublime, crystal-clear beef pho (£10), full of fragrance and flavour, was very nearly the pick of an incredibly good bunch. The only thing better? A belter of a BBQ lemongrass pork noodle salad (£11) with superb, smoky meat and a bucketload of zip from a great nuoc cham sauce, loads of mint and spikes of fresh red chilli.
We left here thankful that Bui has been given license to venture beyond the confines of his living room and into premises proper. He’s probably just pleased there’s someone else to do the washing up.”
Review By: Stephen Farmer, November 2015