Long before you see this charming little Vietnamese café, you’ll smell some enticing aromas wafting down the street. At lunchtime, you can expect to see a line of City workers at the door; staff are calmly efficient, so don’t baulk at the length of the queue – it disappears in no time.
The menu is easy to follow. Choose from lightly spiced noodle soups (bun hue or pho), Vietnamese baguettes (banh mi), vermicelli salads, jasmine rice dishes and spring rolls. Most options are available with beef, pork, chicken or tofu – and there’s a prawn soup. The ‘classic pork’ banh mi comes with a succulent cold cut of pork, earthy liver pâté, fiery chilli, crunchy veg and fresh coriander, all in a light crispy baguette. Vegetarian rice-paper summer rolls, with a hint of lemongrass, are delicate and refreshing.
Seating in the bright, modern interior is limited, so City Càphê is not the place for a long and lingering lunch, but it’s perfect for a quick bite or a tasty takeaway.