Viet Food

Restaurants, Vietnamese Chinatown
4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(24user reviews)
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Sophisticated Vietnamese cooking in a Chinatown location

Ding ding ding! Red flag alert. We’d just walked the length of Wardour Street (sans Google Maps, a rookie error) to find this new Vietnamese restaurant not in the Soho bit, as we assumed, but in the below-Shaftesbury Ave bit. This could only mean one thing: tourists. Swarms of them, all taking selfies, grelfies and good-old-fashioned giant-camera travel snaps. 

That’s right, people: Viet Food is just outside the entrance to Chinatown, next to the Play 2 Win arcade and across from famed-for-shouty-waiters Wong Kei. Then there’s the name: Viet Food. Not exactly inspiring, is it? 

But don’t let these superficial no-nos put you off, because this just happens to be one of the hippest new restaurants in the capital. A creation of the people behind Dozo sushi in Soho, it’s ultra-stylish, mixing traditional south-east Asian elements (interlaced woods and corrugated iron over the soup station’s ‘roof’) with industrial chic: bare walls, scuffed floorboards, exposed girders, soundtrack of throbbing dance music. Even the loos are warehouse cool. 

But before you say it, there’s plenty of substance too. As one of the waiters put it, with what would appear like arrogance if it weren’t basically true, ‘Everything here is good.’ Ex-Hakkasan head chef Jeff Tan has put together a pick ’n’ mix of stellar Vietnamese street food, and of the seven dishes we sampled, only one (an overcooked but otherwise delicious grilled scallop) was a letdown. 

The rest combined tastes and textures with great flair, such as the intense flavours of a dish of stir-fried French beans with tender morsels of sticky beef and alternating bursts of chilli, garlic, and shrimp-paste saltiness. Or the faintly sweet coconut crunch of deep-fried calamari with a sweet chilli dressing, which came delivered in a teeny test tube, because it’s that kind of place. 

We’d have liked to try one of the eight kinds of pho, but first we’d have had to die, be reincarnated as cows, and come back with four empty stomachs. Each. Because aside from slightly too-nonchalant service, that’s the main disappointment: too many dishes and not enough room in your belly to put them all. Only one thing for it then. Go back next week and do battle with the snap-snapping out-of-towners once more.

By: Tania Ballantine

Posted:

Venue name: Viet Food
Contact:
Address: 34-36 Wardour St
London
W1D 6QT
Opening hours: Mon-Fri noon-11pm; Sat noon-11.30pm, Sun noon-10.30pm
Transport: Tube: Piccadilly Circus
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Average User Rating

3.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:6
  • 4 star:10
  • 3 star:4
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:4
LiveReviews|24
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1 of 1 found helpful

Giving 5* for the delicious food but one star (as it's the lowest) for the appalling service. The service is a shame to the food served by the chefs. Some of the staff were rude, defensive and confrontational. Despite having more than 20 seats free, we were refused seats because only 5 out of 7 were present at the same time -the manager was blunt and very rude. He told us to be out of the restaurant by 2pm and we were ready to pay and leave at 10 minutes before 2. However even after asking two different members of staff for the bill, we were made to wait half an hour for it. After we politely refused to pay for the service fee because of the lack of hospitality, we were confronted by two male staff members.

Again, amazing food but please, please, please, do yourselves a favour and train everyone to be hospitable and welcoming!

tastemaker

Viet Food serves up a modern twist to classic Vietnamese dishes. Main dishes were reasonable portion but the smaller dishes were a little small. We spent average of £15 per person without drinks. 

Food had a vibrant colour and tasted fresh from all the different herbs. We enjoyed it but the experience was rather so-so. The waitress was a bit rude but when the manager saw what happened, he quickly stepped in and put the situation right. 

Downstairs was slightly cramp but upstairs dining area was larger. Suitable for large groups of diners. Impressed with the interior deco. No baby changing facilities, no top up of hot water if you order tea, like the interior deco in the toilet and baby buggies would be difficult to fit. To be honest when in Chinatown, I'd rather stick to Chinese food if I had wanted Asian food in that manner.

tastemaker

Surprised by the amount of negative reviews here. Maybe we got lucky with our service, as it was pleasant and unremarkable. Not sure why it took so long to finally visit this place, but the food was excellent and great for sharing. We ordered a main dish with 3 starters to share between the two of us, and left stuffed, though wanting more!


Mediocre and overpriced pho. Portions are very small. Curt service, water is very expensive. 10 pound card minimum.

tastemaker

Delicious Vietnamese food, friendly service and reasonable prices. 


We enjoyed everything we ordered and found all the dishes to be flavourful, well-presented and full of colour. I particularly loved the Saigon stir-fry duck breast with green papaya; beautiful flavours, perfectly cooked duck breast and wonderfully combined with papaya. 


This is a restaurant where most of the tapas are consistently good. Hence, we regularly visit it and most of the staff are hardworking and offer an acceptable level of service. 

Last Saturday it was different, the restaurant supervisor was rude, arrogant, not interested in setting up a harmonious atmosphere for anyone in the restaurant. 

Based on this horrible attitude and bad experience and I requested to remove the service charge, which he didn't do. There is a name for those who try to rip customers off, and he totally deserves it. I am sure the owner will consider moving him to the kitchen porter position. Totally disgraceful and an insult to his family and employer!

He is shameful and he should not work in hospitality. A total waste...I feel sympathy for Jeff Tan who has fought so hard to earn his well deserved fame so that an inept and a scumbag can destroy it in a matter of seconds. Literally, all the guests were shocked.

tastemaker

This is definitely my go-to Vietnamese restaurant in London! Every time I've been, the food has been delicious - the portion sizes are great, the quality of the ingredients is fresh and the service is always welcoming. 


My favourite dish to order is their Bun Sa either with the sirloin steak or the grilled freshwater prawns. The sirloin steak version was first ordered by my aunt when we went together in the summer. The slices of beef are thick-cut and cooked medium-rare, just the way I like it! It comes nicely cut on top of the bowl of vermicelli and is so flavourful on its own, although I do like to dip mine in some of their red chili sauce that they provide in bottles on the table. As for the freshwater prawn version, the pieces of prawn are actually really decent - they're big, juicy and taste fresh! This too goes well with the either the red or green chili sauce that they have on the table. 


In terms of portion sizes, as mentioned above, they are generous. The Bun Sa comes with a good amount of vermicelli, which is actually too much for me, and an equally good amount of vegetables and fresh herbs. I like that they serve the fish sauce in a small bowl on the side, rather than pouring it over the dish for you. This way, I can control how much I would like to add into my bowl of noodles. 


When I've come with my brother, we ordered their Fresh Spring Rolls with prawns. This comes with a thick, sweet sauce topped with crushed peanuts. This goes incredibly well with the spring rolls and even with the vermicelli in the Bun Sa! 


Everything on the menu is also pretty decently priced in my opinion. You get your money's worth of food! They also do a delicious Iced Vietnamese Coffee. This is simply a very fragrant blend of Vietnamese coffee that is mixed with either condensed or evaporated milk and served with crushed ice. It's a delightful combination and way to end your meal, especially after all those spices and chili! 


When I am hungover you will find me propped up in one of the window seats, people watching & gorging on the amazing lemongrass chicken they have here. The coconut calamari is also a go to for me! So glad I found this place & that it's a 5 minute walk from my office!

Tastemaker

This place is a bit of a hidden gem. Maybe "hidden" in the sense of "hidden in plain sight" because amongst the bustle of Chinatown's restaurants, sometimes it can be difficult to judge which place will be great despite looking shabby on the outside or disappointing with a shiny exterior. Happily this is neither: it's decent and cheap Vietnamese food in the centre of town. It's perfect for a light and quick meal pre-cinema or -theatre and it does a decent bowl of bun which is fine by this Viet!

tastemaker

This has got to be one of the best Vietnamese food I've had in London, on par with the street food in Vietnam. They've done well with the decor, it doesn't feel like you're in China Town, and staff knew the menu inside out, recommending some excellent dishes. I've never had Vietnamese curry before, but sure am a fan now. You could tell a lot of love was put into making the pho broth and soft shell crab was meaty and full of flavour. I've been here a few times to try different things on the menu and I've yet to be disappointed with one of their dishes. Only downside to this place is that it's not really accessible. There is a big step to get in and the ground floor area is quite limited, but staff are more than willing to accommodate. No accessible toilets either, but there are a couple of places right opposite the restaurant which has facilities if required. Despite this, I still completely recommend coming here.


A personal recommendation led me to booking here and I was not disappointed. My table was soon filled with delicious food - smoky spiced quail, tender pork belly, french beans with mince and shrimp sauce, coconut calamari and chicken curry were all mouth-wateringly good. To go with this, the restaurant had a great chilled atmosphere, service was good and the bill reasonable.


The summer rolls were a little bog standard, the soft shell crab tasty but served with a ridiculous amount of onion (not good for a date!), and a slightly odd Sago dessert (a bit like rice pudding but not as good) stops me giving this place 5 stars, but this was vastly outweighed by the rest of the food. I certainly recommend heading along and trying it out for yourself.


Each dish is a master piece So many different flavours Fresh and full of flavour Amazing

Tastemaker

It may be in the most touristy area of Soho, but you'll be pleasantly surprised of the quality of the food at Viet Food. I chose the rare beef pho and it was perfectly flavoured, with a hint of the various spices and some liquorice and served with the compulsory plate of beansprouts, mint, chilli, lime and some herb I can't name in English! The atmosphere was very buzzy, lots of people want to eat there, queues form outside and some even wait inside. It's a small venue, but they try and serve you as quick as possible. If you want a delicious pho and don't want to trek to Kingsland Road or Canada Water, this is the place to land!

moderatorStaff Writer

I was left a little disappointed after a recent visit to Viet Food. Having heard big things, expectations were high, and maybe that's why it didn't quite hit the mark. The venue itself is a handy find in Chinatown. Set on two floors, we were sat upstairs in the back room, which was fine, but the street-facing front room seemed to be a better spot. 


Food-wise, I tried the prawn summer rolls, which were as good as you'll find, followed by sea bass, lightly fried so it had a crisp batter, topped with greens. All the food was decent, but I think Cay Tre serves superior Vietnamese food to what's on offer here, as do Mien Tay and Viet Grill on Kingsland Road.

moderatorStaff Writer

Viet Food is a relatively new Vietnamese joint, and it's a welcome addition to the Soho/Chinatown selection of eateries. Dishes here are reasonably priced and altogether delicious – the calamari rings have a superbly crispy coating and come with a dinky bottle containing sauce, and they were a particular highlight. The summer rolls were also fresh and chewy and very difficult to put down.


The menu itself is pretty big, but ask a waiter for help and they'll provide recommendations. Otherwise, the stylised interior of Viet Food won't be for everyone, but I enjoyed the atmosphere it created.

Tastemaker

I enjoyed a lovely lunch here at this spot on a friday afternoon when most of other good restaurants in nearby soho are closed. The beans with minced beef was absolutely delicious and the noodles with beef ( bun that tho nuong) which needed a little bit of spicy sauce was to the point. I did not leave disappointed. Nice, cosy Vietnamese restaurant in the middle of China Town and Soho.


Outstanding meal last night every dish fresh and full of flavour highly recommend beans with meat and shrimp paste

Staff Writer

After reading about the coconut calamari in the Time Out magazine I decided that I wanted some and so I went to Viet food to get some! 


I was not disappointed, the calamari was cooked to perfection and the coconut taste was just right. The sauce that can with the dish was delicious. I also ordered a beef soup. This was nice but I felt it lacked flavour, it needed a little something else to complete the dish but all in all it was a good eat. 


Uninventive and mediocre. The service was good, except for the fact that we were especially looking forward to eating a pho, but we weren't told there weren't any left until we were ordering because they 'only serve 150 a day and if it's gone its gone'. The coconut calamari and the pork belly was nice, but nothing special and expensive. The grilled prawn on the bun was alright, but otherwise bland, not very well done and there was nothing fragrant about the fragrant rice. Over all, the experience was ok, I wouldn't go back on my own accord (Ca* T** down the road would be a much better choice), but the place has so much potential if they added a dash of creativity in the menu.  Maybe it will improve it only opened recently and I also hope they will revisit the Vietnamese translation on the menu. 

Tastemaker

Somewhere between a 3 and 4 star for me on this sweet little spot on the edge of Chinatown. Lovely decor, rustic but functional. Enjoyed the Pho very much - good spicy broth, free range chicken. Noodles were a bit meh for me - bit slimy - but besides that, I liked the meal. Service was quick and friendly, and it came in at about 15 quid a head for a few shared starters and a bowl of Pho each. Not bad for a lunchtime and a very easy location just off Shaftesbury Ave. 


 I visited this place as the menu and reviews here on timeout looked great. However, this was far from the truth, as I will explain below. 


We ordered the Coconut calamari and for £2.50 per calamari, the batter was thick and cold, the calamari was luke warm underneath. The second started (Five spiced soft shell crab) took over 20 minutes to come with my partner's main. We asked where this might be and the waiter had to ask us if we ordered this dish, even though he was the one who took the order. 


There was a gluten free menu, but the Pho dishes were exactly the same and had no difference to the main menu version. We also asked if chillis could be added to the Pho Tam and to our surprise, this was not possible and nor was switching out the flat noodles for vermicelli. 


On top of all this, the worst part is the service from a waiter named Chee Wai. He took our order, didn't meet any dietary requirements, even though at the bottom of the menu it said this was possible. He forgot to bring over half our food, so by the time i finished my main, my partner's main had not even arrived on the table! 


All in all, this was a very bad experience for us and we will not be coming back here again. The service as described was appalling and for the price they charge on the dishes, you would think to have better tasting HOT food, which meets any dietary requirements of the customer.


A great little find in Soho. The seating all looks relatively basic but the food was great. I ordered the summer rolls which were delicious followed by a Thai red curry. It wasn't the best I've tasted but was still pretty good and great value for money. The staff were lovely too so I'd definitely go back.


FINALLY! A decent vietnamese in central London that shines like it's east london counterparts. Try the beef betel, coconut calamari, scallops and morning glory - all delish and great value for money.

0 of 1 found helpful
tastemaker

Delicious food, cool music and good service. I had the bun with pork three ways.... very very yummy. 


Most tables are sharing, which can lead to food envy, but in our case it helped us decide what we wanted from the menu. Everything looked delicious, though, so I'm sure there are no bad options. 


Don't fall into the trap of thinking 'we're in Chinatown so we must eat Chinese'. This Vietnamese spot is a winner.