Cay Tre

  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
93 Love It
M Franke

Part of the Vietnamese Kitchen group, with branches in Hoxton and Shoreditch, Cây Tre is just what you might imagine a Vietnamese restaurant in Soho to be like: chic, minimal decor, impeccably smart and efficient black-clad staff, and beautifully served food. Customers are very mixed – tourists, Chinatown youngsters looking for something fresh, and a smattering of techies and media types.

The chain prides itself on using all fresh (ideally local) ingredients with impeccable provenance – witness the delectable Devon crab wrap with crisp lettuce and perilla leaves (in which to roll up the super-tasty filling); grilled Cornish scallops in spring onion oil, roasted peanuts and nuoc cham; and barbecued Somerset ribs with lemongrass, sriracha chilli sauce and galangal. The menu is peppered with imaginative combinations, such as a delicious textural treat of grilled squid stuffed with duck pâté, or braised ox cheek pho with lemongrass and coriander.

Thoughtfully, counters with stools have been provided by the entrance, facing the street, for those in a hurry or singletons. A big choice of cocktails leaves little room for a decent wine list. Loud piped music throbs through the place – enjoyable, but not conducive to conversation.

Sister restaurant Viet Grill in Shoreditch has had a makeover, and now has a dining room with a new organic menu, and a retro-styled Vietnamese cocktail bar.

Venue name: Cay Tre
Address: 42-43 Dean Street
Opening hours: Meals served noon-10.45pm Mon-Thur; noon-11.15pm Fri, Sat; noon-9.45pm Sun
Transport: Tube: Leicester Square
Price: Main courses £8-£15. Set meal £23 3 courses (minimum 2).Meal for two with wine and service: around £75. Lunch dishes from £8.50 noon-3pm daily

Average User Rating

3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:17
  • 4 star:7
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:7
  • 1 star:16
1 person listening
1 of 1 found helpful

the food is not authentic at all, watery pho broth with lack of seasoning. (bun bo i.e) nearly £10 for a bowl of soup (medium size for vietn cuisine - should be a main dish) also vietn. restaurants should never save on herb sides. i.e mint, basil, coriander, sprouts,.....shame as soho could really do with a proper vietn. eating branch.

1 of 1 found helpful

Friend and I ordered a pho soup with fishcakes. When it arrived, a stench of rotting corpse was too overpowering for either of us to dare to taste it. When we called a waitress over to ask about it, we were told that we had ordered it and we would have to pay. That was her first concern. She said it was meant to smell that way, but didn't explain why. I am not a food wimp, but every time I got near that soup I thought I would throw up - I would defy Bear Grills to keep it down. Another waiter told us he can't eat that soup either. So why not make some kind of explanation on the menu - at least warn customers? Awful service ethic - 'you're paying anyway'. Will never return. They don't deserve to stay in business.

1 of 1 found helpful

Awful. Arrongant service, bland food and they clearly have no respect for their customers. My noodle dish was served tepid, when I complained I was told - "its supposed to be". When I asked to swap he told me I still have to pay. Asked for the manager but they didn't want to walked out, never to return. Shame, as we visited here a year ago and it was pretty good - clearly things are going downhill here.

1 of 1 found helpful

overpriced and not as tasty as other vietnamese places in east london. we had the monkfish starter - overrated show. pho - meh, FAR better pho at cafe east. soft shell crab curry was way too spicy. Disappointing meal that was not worth the money. go to Chinatown.

1 of 1 found helpful

Like other readers, I don't feel that Cay Tre deserves the review it received from Time Out. Starters were fine, although frogs legs were a disappointment and tasted similar to cheap american fried chicken. Summer rolls were fresh and tasty, but let's face it, easy to get right. Grilled squid was thankfully not overcooked, but still underwhelming. Main courses were more disappointing. Mutton curry at £10 for a small bowl was inadequate and was more bone than meat. Flavours were not exciting or different and fried rice was also over priced at £4.50 for a portion. A brief highlight was the Jasmine flower which had been cooked with dried red chilli. A different and unusual dish, but must come with significant air miles to justify the £8.50 price tag for a bowl. Not impressed, especially after all the hype. Won't be rushing back.

1 of 1 found helpful

Not impressed. Nice decor, ok starter mains were not nice I had a pork dish that was cold and not tasty, my friend had chicken roti, the chicken was on the bone and there was hardly any meat at all. Would not go again there are much better Vietnamese restaurants in east London.

1 of 1 found helpful

It's got potential, but it's just OK at the moment. Went there last week and tried la vong grilled fish, piggy grilled aubergine, fresh soft summer roll, vietnamese chicken royale, campfire sirloin steak, an indian style curry and soft shell crab curry. All by myself! Nothing was extraordinary, I liked the staff but it all seems a bit to rushed on the plate - and the favours don't shine through. It is not cheap either. I see that some of the food we ordered is not on the menu anymore, and that's a good sign, but I think there's a bit of an unjustified Time Out hype around it. I'll wait until it settles and then go again, but in the meantime I'd just wander down the road to Busaba Eathai or to China Town.

Mike M
1 of 1 found helpful

I'm a fan of Vietnamese food and have visited the country, also many Vietnamese restaurants in London. Was looking forward to Soho Cay Tre but the general view seems emphatically that it's overpriced and not up to much. Would your writer Guy Dimond like to comment on the difference between his view and those of all but one of your readers ?

1 of 1 found helpful

If you've been to Cay Tre on Old Street, this Soho branch will be a big disappointment. £3 for a tiny bowl of steamed rice, only found three soft shell crabs in a curry dish that costs a tenner, and £3.5 for jasmine tea?!?! The non-alcoholic drink list was long, but was told by waiter that only jasmine tea and lemonade were available... We ordered a Hanoi Pho (£9), but the soup was lukewarm - WRONG!! Forget about it - only go there if you cared about ambient decor / music / lighting...

1 of 1 found helpful

Average quality and overpriced. Avoid there are better options...

Fabiana F
1 of 2 found helpful

Appalling customer service. The type of place that makes it very clear that they just interested in your money. They can't even feign respect.

Shashi G

The food is good, however it was spoilt by asking us to vote for the restaurant in order to get 10 percent discount. A good review should be done voluntarily in order to ensure it remains competitive and keeps the quality high.

Patrick H

Cay Tre is great. If you're looking for Vietnamese food this is a staple! Quick service and delicious dishes.

Xinzhe Z

My friend and I went Cay Tre for today's lunch. We were surprised that the beef pho had two kinds of beef and they were all super delicious. What's more is that the chicken pho was totally different with the beef one!!!!! Amazing!!!

Christopher M
Staff Writer

I originally loved the sister restaurant in Old Street and was very please the soho branch opened near my work. Classier decor than the Old street version and the food id just as good. Thoughts are the same - GET THE SALT & PEPPERED SQUID. You will not regret it.


Terrible!  Miniature portions of edible meat for extortionate prices for what it is.  A bowl of mushrooms in soya sauce (literally) was £11.50!  Avoid, and go to the ramen joint opposite!


Terrible.  Miniature portions of inedible meat.  £11.50 for a small bowl of literally mushrooms in soya sauce?!  Infuriating, since so many other causal restaurants in Soho are actually good value and good food.  Total rip off - go to the ramen joint opposite!

Chi H

Very expensive for non authentic vietnamese food, many dishes are similar to Chinese stirred fried with a nice name attached and a high price tag.


For vegetarians the menu was limited. The food was served separate and the food was like fast food quality and NOT in a good way! Overpriced and the worse service i have EVER. Will not come again!!!!


Went here on a Sunday night and was pleasantly surprised - service was terrific, as was the food. The grilled aubergine was delicious. The scallops with cashew nuts were to die for, but a bit pricey. The mushroom pho was also really good!


Im a big fan of the Old Street branch but this is appalling. Crap menu, overpriced and the worse service i have EVER received.


The staff very good and friendly but overprice for food . Didn't like the blue hair waiter at all

Peter Anderson

Went there last Thursday with my partner. Was recommended by a waiter with the best of Vietnamese traditional foods with Summer Rolls, La Vong grilled fish, "his" favorite of Chili Squid which became our favorite later, followed by Mekong Catfish and Luc Lac Beef. It was an amazing meal we have had to compare with the other Vietnamese restaurants that we went to before. Highly recommended!


Very decent Vietnamese food at top level. I so enjoyed the food here especially key dishes like Beef Pho and Bun Bo Hue. They also do a very good monk cheek curry which is very unusual. The menu is long, as the room is also long. I think if you are after Vietnamese this is the place to go in town, much better quality than going up to Kingsland Road.


Had an amazing meal in autumn last year. HIgh quality food, not cheap but worth the money. I went back last Saturday and was disappointed. The food was ok but not nearly as good as last year. We were a table of 6 and had all the same impression. You get much better value for money in Viet Hoa or any other Vietnamese restaurants in Shoreditch.


What a pleasant surprise. Bright, smart food. Lots more adventurous than most VN places. Tasty combinations. Friendly staff.


Some dishes very tasty (the aubergine as in the main review, pork belly) but VERY expensive for the portion size. The Kingsland Road cafes are not all low rent - many (Viet Grill, Viet Hoa) do same or better quality for much lower prices.


A very nice touch of Vietnamese in middle of Soho. I have been to the other branch of Cay Tre in Hoxton really enjoyed the food there. But Cay Tre Soho is a surprise. Together with old classic dishes but cooked in a better way, is some new dishes you can only find in Vietnam like Silky Lang Son roast pork, Tonkin jasmine flower. They also have some exotic meat and game like wild board and deer. A very good lunch deal if you in the area at lunch :9.50 for a Pho and a glass of wine or Summer Roll. But I prefer at night as the restaurant looks so romantic at night. Best Vietnamese in London for sure.


Had an amazing dinner at Cay Tre Soho last week. Sure, it's different to the one in East London but I love Soho and this place just oozes Soho cool. The service was great, the staff have lovely smiles and it is reasonably priced too - not cheap by any means but I wouldn't expect it to be dirt cheap in such a beautiful pristine setting. I'm looking forward to going back for a spot of lunch next week with some work colleagues!


I haven't been to the original Cay Tre, but have heard so many great things about it so was excited to try the new one. Lovely design, more upmarket than I was expecting, and a nice busy, friendly atmosphere. Ate summer rolls and soft shell crab curry, which was really delicious and rich. Love the idea of the Vietnamese afternoon tea so will be back to try that soon.


I might disagree with others' view about this restaurant. A close friend recommended me this branch after her party there, and I like the food there. Ordered one shrimp pancake, grilled monkfish (btw loving the way they cook this meal right on the table) for starters and then calabash dish with rice and a bowl of spicy beef noodle for my partner as for main. All were very tasty although I might agree that the dishes are quite expensive. Therefore, you might wanna read reviews or ask friends about what dishes to order before you go. Also glad they still have their coconut ice cream like the old branches, coz those are absolutely delicious.


Night out at Caytre soho last week and it was a brilliant night with loads of delicious dishes. Impressed with nice decoration, especially Chef Vin Beef and soft shell crab curry are worthy. Also staffs are friendly and enthusiatic.

Lisa Pham

Stupid when the Mekong catfish has been cooked by salmon the so-called vietnamese food.


This is a fantastic restaurant!! All of my friends loved it.

Alistair Barrie

I'm a huge fan of the Old Street branch and have been since its appearance. Will wait for a table, and have done so many times. Not here. Pho has just opened on Wardour St, and knowing their Brighton branch, Cay Tre Soho needs to seriously up its game. It's not their fault that I had some braying trustafarians modelling rugby shirts next to me and discussing spring chicken as though it was their girlfriend, but on a simply ambient note, they could easily have been drowned out by quieter music. It was like going to an Asian rave at Henley. Food wise, I think in the same way that you can judge a good Thai by its Tom Yum, you can judge a Vietnamese by its pho. If you're going to make a big play of the Rib-Eye steak on the menu, it's best not to serve it with what can only be described as gristly shavings. I like my pho quite hot - so I usually add some chopped chilli and then remove it as I'm eating. Pernickety and slighltly OCD I realise, but when you're presented with one unchopped chilli to add, and a slice of lemon (shouldn't it be lime?) it's very hard to cut it up with chopsticks. I asked for some chopped chilli, which never arrived. As a bit of a pho snob (add your own -ing) the broth was watery rather than the comfortingly aromatic variety you find on Old Street. Not much marrowbone here. Maybe the stock needs longer, or they could borrow a meatier one from round the corner. It is Soho after all and...too...many...jokes. I quite liked the Kimchi, my girlfriend didn't, but that's a matter of taste, and at least it wasn't ludicrously overpriced like much else on the menu - eight quid for beans? Really? My girlfriend is, however, very wise (except in her choice of partner) and when I mentioned I was writing this, did ask me to add the words 'shit', 'overpriced', and 'cold' to my review, and she's head of department for an English faculty so I felt I had to. Her Dong Du curry was admittedly quite tasty, but the chop bit was sadly lacking. I think she counted two mouthfuls of actual lamb, which, for a tenner, seems a little steep. I even mentioned it when the bill arrived, and normally I'm like both of the old ladies in Fawlty Towers, so it must have been a bit shit, overpriced and cold. I've got a meeting in Soho tomorrow, and I've already arranged to meet at Cay Tre. I would say I've booked a table, but no one was answering the phone this afternoon. I'll be trying other things, but they're going to have to be really good or next time I'm eating out in Dean St, I'll be trying other things.