I have been rather unlucky with Vietnamese restaurants in Soho: Â I was not very convinced by the West End subsidiary of the the popular Hoxton Vietnamese Cay Tre and I was more than disappointed by the lack of authenticity at Pho in Soho.
I was told Viet was the place to go when craving cheap and authentic Vietnamese in Soho, and, even though I liked Viet better than both Cay Tre and Pho (and it is without doubt the cheapest and most authentic of them three), I would not exactly rush back.
Viet is situated on Greek Street, very close to Curzon Soho. I give you this piece of information as it is so inconspicous that I walked up and down Greek Street trying to find it and passed it several times without noticing it. (NB: I was not drunk at this occasion).
It is super basic and consequently very cheap. You pay something around 2-4 pounds for most of the starters and 6-8 pounds for the mains.Â Alcohol is not served but for a small corkage charge you may bring your own booze.
The waiters couldn’t care less. If you have managed to attract their attention, they are nice enough, but in general they are not exactly the epitome of efficiency and good customer service.
But now to the food: The Vietnamese summer rollswere lovely filled with succulent prawns, fresh salad and herbs as well as bouncy rice noodles. Â Since I haveÂ learnedÂ how to do Bo la lot – minced beef wraped in betel leaves Â - Â at Leluu’s Vietnamese CookingÂ Course, I have very high standards for this Vietnamese favourite. I found the Viet version to be nothing more than ok. While the aromatic and peppery flavours of the betel leaves were beautiful, the beef filling wasÂ under-seasoned and cried for some more fish sauce and lemongrass.
Unfortunately also the two mains were predominantly characterised by their blandness. Bun cha (cold vermicelli noodles topped with chicken, bean sprouts, cucumber and herbs) would have been amazing if the massive amount of tasteless green salad would have been replaced by fragrant Vietnamese mint. Â Also the ginger and lemongrass chicken was stingy on flavour and was nothing to write home.
There was nothing wrong as such with either of the dishes, but of all them would have needed just this little bit more (herbs? flavours? seasoning?) Â to convince me. I would go back if I craved Vietnamese and was restricted to the Soho location. Less than 15 pounds a head for a quick and reasonable meal is not bad at all. However, there is just no escaping the fact that for good Vietnamese, you have to go East.
- Food: 6/10
- Service: 5/10
- Ambiance: 5/10
- Value for Money: 7/10
- Chances of Returning: 10%
- Verdict: very basic and slightly bland Vietnamese