Cay Tre

Restaurants, Vietnamese Soho
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 3 out of 5 stars
(77user reviews)
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Cay Tre
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
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Average User Rating

3.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:28
  • 4 star:13
  • 3 star:7
  • 2 star:10
  • 1 star:19
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Nick N
1 of 1 found helpful

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

Tim Z
1 of 1 found helpful

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

Sami L
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

Xinzhe Z
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!!!

Khrystle N
1 of 1 found helpful

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

Peter S
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.

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...

Chris D

I dont know what Emily M was smoking when she posted that.AS someone not from Vietnam,no one cares what you say. 

Emily M

As a Melburnian, I do not fuck around when it comes to Pho. I take the quality and price of my pho very seriously. In Melbourne, a bowl of pho costs around $10, comes with a big plate of authentic Vietnamese herbs, spicy chillis, juicy lime and an abundance of bean shoots. Cay Tre serves their pho with regular garden mint and the soup itself really lacks the depth of flavour that the classic Vietnamese dish is known for. Most of the beef was inedible with large amounts of sinew and fat. You can definitely find better is you search for it. I gave this place the benefit of the doubt and went here three times before calling it quits. It's just not what I'd expect from such a bustling Vietnamese restaurant. 

Dimple M

Went here at lunch - service was very quick and the food came in large portions and was very tasty!

I'd highly recommend it here for lunched and dinners. It can get very busy in here.

I ordered a classic Pho! Yum


The last time I visited, I had the Bun Sa with chicken but this time, I had the Bun Sa with beef steak. Both were tasty and I liked that the meats were stir-fried with the bean sprouts and garnishes to give it a lovely, smoke-y smell and taste from the wok.

It was a pretty large portion both times as well, with a mountain of vermicelli noodles at the bottom of the bowl, loads of fresh herbs (mainly mint leaves) and vegetables (lettuce, bean sprouts, spring onions, cucumber and fresh chilies), and a good amount of meat. The sauce was also already included in the bowl and you simply had to mix the contents up in order to get the most flavour. They also had Siracha chili sauce and Hoi Sin sauce bottles on the table already, which went great with the meat and noodles.

My brother had the Pho with beef slices but he was not as impressed with his dish as I was with mine. I had a bite to try it for myself because the dish did look quite authentic in terms of content – the slices of beef, the type of noodles and the garnishes by the side. However, he was right! The soup broth was quite weak and didn’t have a tasty beef flavour, as it normally should. There were a couple of decent slices of beef but many had so much tendon or fat that there was hardly sufficient meat. It’s a dish I wouldn’t order again if I came, but definitely a yes to the Bun Sa!


Lovely pho, great environment and quick service! I got the classic pho with raw beef and, with a touch of lemon and mint, and it was amazing. The staff is Vietnamese and the food tasted really nice. Good food at reasonable price too (I paid £12 with service at the end). However, make sure you book in advance because it gets very busy!

Bonnie W

I decided to go for dinner at Cay Tre after reading that it won the Timeout Love London Award for best restaurant. I have to admit that I was slightly underwhelmed with my experience. We started with vegetarian spring rolls which had a weirdly starchy filling. The curries and fried rice we ordered as mains were nice, but not things I would need to order again. The service was quite good but we were sat right at the back of the restaurant at a sharing table which got cramped. Overall, not bad food and the prices were reasonable for Soho but there are a lot of other restaurants in the area that I would rather go to such as 10 Greek Street, Shackfuyu and Tonkotsu.

Staff Writertastemaker

I had a really nice lunch here from the £10 lunch menu available in the week. I had a spring chicken (slightly barbequed flavour) and spring rolls to start. It was light and well cooked actually teh spring rolls alone were super filling.

A few people on our table had a less good meal, on a large table there seemed to be quite varied experiences so I'd choose carefully here and maybe ask about the menu before ordering.

The soft drinks were crazy expensive and the lunch deal doesnt come with rice so its not a bargain lunch but a good option if you want a bit of a treat lunch!

Nick M

As a first time visitor and not entirely au fait with Vietnamese food I was in that familiar position of stuck staring at a menu wondering what the hell I do.  The waiting staff seemed to be a little confused that a customer would be confused but eventually we got there.

Good simple food, quick service, nice atmosphere, the Saigon beer was crisp and well chilled and all for a very decent price when you think about where you are.

Kemi O

The price for the place is pretty good, and the food comes fairly quickly. The restaurant was pretty busy during lunch when I went, but they still managed to get thirteen or so dishes out quickly to us. Although the vegetable spring roll wasn't the best thing on the menu, it was well cooked and had a lovely crispy coating. The majority of our party enjoyed their food, and were happy with the service. The price was also very affordable. 

Paul C
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.

Ros A

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. 

Sarah G

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.

Jason C

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

sophie b

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.

Alanna S

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.

Isabelle S

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

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.

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