Cây Tre in Soho is part of the restaurant group that includes Viet Grill, Cây Tre and Keu, all located in the Shoreditch area.
The interior is sleek, modern and bright with splashes of colour from the vibrant flowers dotted around the restaurant. We got seated in a semi circular round booth and wasted no time in getting our orders in. We started off with some red sea prawn summer rolls as these would be the quickest dish to come out of the kitchen. In my mind, summer rolls are a good, healthy alternative to their cheeky bad boy cousin, the deep fried spring roll. Given the choice, I would always go for the latter. However, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed my experience with the good ol’ summer roll – super fresh and bursting with flavour (the complete opposite to the bland summer roll I wish I hadn’t nicked off a friend at another Vietnamese restaurant on Kingsland road, earlier in the week).
Then, we had a rather less impressive seafood platter (prawns, crab and squid deep fried in batter with vegetables and an onion garnish) which was laden with salt. This was the style of the dish supposedly but the salt was so overpowering, it was difficult to enjoy. Thankfully, the main meal more than compensated for this. We ordered bowls of egg fried rice and jasmine rice along with a mahi mahi curry and a beef dish (consumed by whole group bar myself as I don’t eat red meat).
The group assured me I was missing out on the succulent beef but I was very content with the curry, which reminded me of one of my favourite Nigerian dishes ‘banga’. The sauce had just the right balance of sweet and chilli and the fish literally melted in my mouth.
The whole meal came to £26 per head including two rounds of alcoholic beverages each (there were 4 of us) which is pretty good value in central London.
Good food. Good vibe. Good times.
Cost: c.£30 a head with drinks
Address: 42-43 Dean St, London W1D 4PZ
Phone: 020 7317 9118
LAST VISITED APRIL 2012