Owning two of East London's most popular Vietnamese restaurants (Cay Tre on Old Street and Viet Grill on Kingsland Road) along with the newly opened Kêu Banh Mi Deli (also on Old Street, across the street from Cay Tre actually – read our review here) is apparently not enough for entrepreneur Hieu Bui who's recently launched a Soho version of Cay Tre.
If you like the Old Street Cay Tre, we reckon you'll approve of this new Dean Street version. And if you love Vietnamese food but for whatever reason found Old Street's ambience or menu lacking, it might be worth your while to check out this new and more centrally located Cay Tre. The design and feel of the place is a little slicker and a lot airier than the original while the menu presents a more “modern face of Vietnamese gastronomy”.
We loved our lunch here. A starter course of grilled calamari with okra (with lemongrass, dill and fermented soy beans, £8) rocked, especially the “grilled bit” as there was just enough char to the bacon-y chunks of squid to have us daydreaming of exotic barbeques in balmier climes. And our main course, oh our main course, of Lang Son spinning roast Tamworth pork belly (stuffed with sweet curry leaves from northern Vietnam's Lang Son province, roasted with lemon and honey then served with dried shrimp chilli oil, £10) was one of the more delicious and intriguing pork dishes we've sampled in a very long time. The meat was tender and the crackling chewy. Both starter and main were fiery yet held delicate flavours. We were impressed and are keen to return.
Service during our midday Tuesday visit was mellow in pace but friendly, with wait staff ramping up to accommodate the lunch rush. Prices aren't of the budget variety but are aligned to what you'd expect to pay at the original Cay Tre and definitely on the cheap side of any quality Soho dining experience. Best enjoyed with a group of foodie friends (we're eager to get back and try the salt and pepper frogs' legs with five spice sea salt, £7.50), we're hoping this yummy East End interloper has a long West End run.
Cay Tre is located at 42-43 Dean Street, W1D 2PZ. Find out more at www.caytresoho.co.uk.