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Cay Tre

Restaurants, Vietnamese Soho
3 out of 5 stars
(81user reviews)
04 Cay Tre by M Franke.JPG
M Franke

Time Out says

The original branch of Cây Tre gave many Hoxtonites their first taste of pho and helped to crank up London’s Vietnamese bandwagon, while its younger Soho sibling offers just about everything you might expect – from chic, minimalist decor and impeccably smart staff to beautifully served food. The freshened-up interiors blend cool white tables with bamboo wall art, while the menu is big on carefully sourced ingredients of impeccable provenance – witness grilled oysters with shallot oil and peanut topping, lemon-cured beef salad with knotweed or wok-fried lamb with chilli and sweet onions. Singletons can bag stools at the front and slurp bowls of pho while listening to the throbbing soundtrack – perhaps with a cocktail on the side. The owners also run Kêu (a bánh mì pitstop in Soho) and the Viet Grill on Kingsland Road.



Address: 42-43 Dean Street
Transport: Tube: Leicester Square
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Users say (81)

3 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

3.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:28
  • 4 star:13
  • 3 star:9
  • 2 star:11
  • 1 star:19
1 person listening
1 of 1 found helpful

Excellent Vietnamese food as they can make the dishes tatse as good as you can get in Vietnam.

1 of 1 found helpful

The chicken drumstick pho is absolutely delicious and be sure to try the extra tender stirr-fried squid.

1 of 1 found helpful

Just my favorite kitchen in London. Great, tasty food with reasonable price... very popular and sometimes you need to reserve beforehand or accept to wait in queue

1 of 1 found helpful

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!!!

1 of 1 found helpful

One of the best vietnamese restaurants in London. The pho always brings us back here.

1 of 1 found helpful

Best Vietnamese Food in London, really enjoyed my meal there

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.

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...


Cay tree is a conveniently located, reasonably priced restaurant in the middle of Soho. Service is excellent, very attentive and friendly. Portions are good, not too big or too small. The restaurant itself has nice enough interiors and has a good atmosphere (a little too noisy at times). However, what let this place down for me was the food itself. I ordered a supposedly 'very hot' monkfish curry and it was very lacking in flavour - not hot at all! The egg fried rice was fine, but again just not very tasty. A nice experience but if you're after tasty Asian food, take a 5 minute walk to China town instead.


Evidently there are mixed feelings about this place, which for a restaurant in its location is disappointing to read (echoes of Anne Robinson declaring it the weakest link comes to mind). Inconsistencies in quality and service really does bring the scoring down for Cay Tre, but surprisingly this wasn't my experience. 

My boyfriend and I, indecisive about what we wanted to eat late on a Wednesday night, stumbled across Cay Tre and were pleasantly surprised by its energetic atmosphere and appealing decor. The wait staff were welcoming and cheerful, and overall, were pretty attentive that night. We ended up splitting the monkfish in black bean sauce, and the Vietnamese chicken curry - which came with a disclaimer about its spiciness from our waitress but for anyone who can handle their spice, this is actually pretty mild - both dishes were tasteful, leaving us wanting more.

I've given an average score of 3 out 5 stars, which takes into account other reviews here as a Soho restaurant with consistencies really isn't deserving of anything more. Although I had a positive experience, it's hit or miss reputation does bring it down.

Beef pho soup was very good, but rest of food was just ok, nothing special.  Menu selection was also disappointing.  I've been to Le Hanoi twice and both times thought it was far better than Cay Tre.  


The staff was really slow, on a Tuesday evening. And the food was ok. Nothing special and/or authenotic and overpriced for the portions.

Staff Writer

So disappointing... having read the Time Out review and heard great things about this place, I was very excited to try it out recently. Unfortunately, it really didn't live up to the hype. The waiters were inattentive, the food was sub-par - i was expecting really fresh, authentic flavours but it was just very 'meh'. One person I was dining with had to send her food back as it was cold...

The best bit about the whole meal was the Saigon beer... hardly something to write home about though.


I must admit I was a little disappointed with my visit to Cay Tre, not least of all because it won The Love London Award last year for best restaurant. I adore Vietnamese food and I'm always on the quest for good soups and phos across London. 

Firstly the positives:

1. You can book! 

2. It's a great location and the staff are friendly enough. 

3. The wonton soup isn't half bad. 

The negatives:

1. The main meals are quite expensive for what they are.

2. The smell in the restaurant doesn't make you feel hungry - it's very fishy (and not in a good way). Before anyone pipes up here, I know fish sauce is in a lot of Vietnamese cooking, but something about the smell in the restaurant didn't much make me want to eat - and that's never a good sign. 

3. The food overall for our group wasn't great - certainly not the worst I've had but it's far from the best Vietnamese in London. A lot of plates were left by our group and no one asked why or checked whether we were OK.  One of our group sent hers back and had a back and worth with the waitress about whether or not it was cold - it definitely was cold. 

Overall I wasn't super impressed but it's possible the restaurant was having an off day. It's always busy, and has a strong following who love it, so I wouldn't rule out trying it again in the future. 


Visited Cay Tre for a friends birthday. I was exhausted and this super crowded restaurant was a bit overwhelming, It was hard to work my way round to get to our table. We had the set menu to avoid having to choose. The food was plentiful and tasty. 

I'd say this restaurant is decent quality and well priced (came in at £41 a head for the set menu and a a few glasses of wine/a cocktail each)  but there is little finesse or glamour. The service is a bit haphazard and impersonal.

I wouldn't rule out going back but think there are other places in the area that impress me more.

Broth was tasteless, the noodles were overcooked.  The ingredients were not fresh for such a busy pho rest.

Ok, just went to Cay Tre. How could you give 5 stars! It was awful. The rolls were not fresh and the meat rotten (raw meat that stinks). Just spent the night sick (for 10 hours!), I WAS POISONNED - stomack was so upset I couldn't drink an once of water for more than 24 hours. Fix your kitchen, this is dangerous.


Cay Tre is an easy option for tasty Thai food in Soho and Old St - but it's not the best option in either area, and particularly not as cheap or authentic as some of the BYOB Vietnamese places in Shoreditch. If you're feeling hungry and in a big group (that are happy to share), I'd recommend going for the set menu (£22 per person) and all going for a different main so you can try a bit of everything.

Monkfish tastes like firefighter. Not recommended to anyone with a palette. Mackerel decent. Noodles good. Voting gets you a discount..

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.

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

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.

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