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June 4th, 2011

CAY TRE SOHO (Soho)

Category: Bistro yellow traffic5 150x150 CAY TRE SOHO (Soho)

Vietnamese Cuisine has a secure place in my top 5 cuisines in the world and I am a regular visitor of Little Vietnam in and around Kingsland Road. Cay Tre Soho is without doubt an interesting addition to the Soho dining scene, where Vietnamese restaurants are scarce. However, compared with my favourite Vietamese joints in the East End and also compared to the original Cay Tre in Old Street, I liked the food substantially less. Overall it didn’t deliver the fresh flavours and herb explosion that I find in my favourite Vietnamese eateries such as Song Que or Fernandez & Leluu Supperclub.

We started with the Green Mango Salad (8.5) which came with dried shrimp and knotweed. I a sucker for Vietnamese salads but this one was rather mediocre. It didn’t taste as fresh, zingy and herby as better specimens of this kind.

 CAY TRE SOHO (Soho)

The Grilled Aubergine (6) however, despite being a particularly unattractive plate of food, was utterly delicious and for me the winner of the evening. The sweet taste of the aubergine together with the ground pork on the top worked so well with the flavour of the fish sauce. Very nice indeed and a must have if you like aubergine.

 CAY TRE SOHO (Soho)

For the mains we went for the very healthy sounding Mushroom Hotpot (9). The menu stated it would come topped with crispy tofu. The flaky thing on the top that you can see here was actually pure garlic and I hate garlic in large, overpowering quantities. Apart from the missing  tofu and the garlic overkill, the mushrooms were plentiful and nicely cooked.

 CAY TRE SOHO (Soho)

The Softshell Crab Curry (8.50) sounded intriguing. It turned out to be very heavy and also surprisingly spicy for Vietnamese food. It almost resembled an Indian curry lacking the subtle flavours of Vietnamese cooking that I like so much and replacing it with a hammer of ground spices. I nevertheless quite enjoyed it and thought that the little vermicelli dumplings for dipping the sauce added a nice touch.

 CAY TRE SOHO (Soho)

Where Cay Tre Soho wins is with the atmosphere which is about 10 steps up from East London Vietnamese places. Rather stylish with dim lighting and friendly as well as efficient service.

 CAY TRE SOHO (Soho)

While I was not blown away with the new Cay Tre, I should mention that some other food bloggers whose opinion I rate highly really loved Cay Tre Soho. The London Eater recommends to try the Pho with Ox Cheeks and Greedy Diva highly enjoyed not only the Chef’s Vinh Beef.

Have you given it a try yet? What did you think?

  • Food: 6/10
  • Service: 7/10
  • Atmosphere: 7/10
  • Value for money: 7/10
  • Chances of returning: 5%
  • Verdict: Nice try, Cay Tre Soho, but I will have to continue to travel East for my Vietnamese fix.

biglink CAY TRE SOHO (Soho)

4 comments to CAY TRE SOHO (Soho)

  • I am always suspicious of Asian restaurants that look TOO bling in that what was spent on design means less money was spent in the kitchen. To an extent, your review confirms these suspicions!

  • the aubergine dish is very nice here.

  • Ouch, I am quite happy with Old Street’s Cay Tre and was thinking of heading over to the Soho branch this weekend. Hmm, might give it a miss after this. Have you tried Sen Viet, the new place over at King’s Cross road?

  • Ute

    @Mr Noodles – you are right unfortunately. I am not saying the food there is bad, it just lost a lot of its authenticity. Depends what you want really.

    @Leluu – I am with you on this, maybe you should give these aubergines a try yourself?

    @London Chow – I also really like the Old Street Cay Tre, wonder what you think about the new one if you decide to go. Mind you, loads of people actually really enjoyed the food there. Didn’t know a new place opened at King’s Cross, thanks for the tip! Will give it a try.

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