Viet Eat Pho & Bun

Following on with the Vietnamese theme from my last post, my next share is Pho & Bun located on Shaftsbury Avenue. The restaurant is by the same people behind Viet Eat located in Holborn. Just like their competitors around the corner, Pho & Bun concept is to serve Vietnamese street food.

Viet Eat Pho & Bun

The Summer Rolls with Tiger Prawn (£2.50)  at Pho & Bun is like a mini sushi roll. Instead of the dipping coming separate it is dotted on the top. I thought the portion was too small for the price.

Viet Eat Pho & Bun

Crispy Spring Roll Pork & Crab (£2.95) I favour instead of their Summer roll.

Viet Eat Pho & Bun

Pho & Bun branch serves steamed milky bun burger (£7.95 each), which is an Asian version burger. Each one are a sides of a burger that is served in a dim sum steam basket with a Vietnamese flag.

Viet Eat Pho & Bun

I tried both the beef burger and the BBQ honey pork burger. But it is the beef burger that wins.

You could share the burger between two or have a whole one to yourself with a portion of the salted sweet potatoes chip with chilli mayonnaise (£2.35).

Viet Eat Pho & Bun

There are a selection of pho including the classic pho with rare sliced beef (£8.95)

Viet Eat Pho & Bun

One of my favourite is the red wine brasied beef pho. Although, you can not taste the red wine which the beef has been braised, it is tender meat with a combination of fat and lean meat on each one.

Viet Eat Pho & Bun

Pho and Bun gives their diner the option to add extra noodle, fried dough stick and meat to any of the pho soup. This is great for those who want a bigger pho and for big eater. Here is a sample of one with extra noodle and meat.

Viet Eat Pho & Bun

There are range of homemade drinks including juices, roasted corn milk, homemade iced lemon tea, homemade lemonade and crushed ice yohurt with Vietnamese milk coffe. They also serve Vietnamese dripping coffee served hot or ices (£2.95), fresh ginger tea, green tea and jasmine tea.

I tried their homemade iced lemon which came in a small tin cup which I thought was small and filled with ice.

Viet Eat Pho & Bun

Having spoken to various friends who went to try Pho & Bun during the soft launch and came out with negative feedback. I have to say that having visted during and after the soft launch, there has been a change. The menu is slightly different to when it was at the soft launch.

I remember how shocked during the soft launch to be served jasmine tea in a small Chinese tea cup and at the same price as you would pay in a Chinese restaurant for unlimited tea. However, having revisit after the soft launch the Jasmine tea is served in a teapot with the option to refill.

I have to say it is much better than when I went during the soft launch. If you did come out feeling negative during the soft launch then do consider to revisit them. This is not a sponsored review but my experience I have had during and after the soft launch.

Pho & Bun
76 Shaftesbury Avenue,
London,
W1D 6ND,
UK

http://vieteat.co.uk

Viet Food

Autumn 2015 saw a trend of Vietnamese restaurants in London opening. The first one I want to share is Viet Food that has took over a previously Vietnamese restaurant in London Chinatown. The owner has transferred the place to give it a rustic atmosphere.

Viet Food

There are a range of drinks on the menu including cocktails and mocktails. Viet Food also offer two of their own juice. I tried the Wow Wow which came served in a mini milk bottle for £3.50. Although it was a cute way to present juice but it was too expensive for the amount of juice that was serve at that price tag.

Viet Food

For hot drinks, Viet Eat offer a lemongrass tea (£1.90) that is served in a teapot and better value then the juice.

Viet Food

We tried the Tradition rice paper summer roll with prawns (£5).

Viet Food

We ordered two of the chef selection dishes to try and the portion size was small. These dishes are good to have with one rice and give an alternative to having noodle.

The tender belly pork (£7.50) only had 3-pieces of belly pork and the portion size reminded me of House of Ho. But I did not think it was as good and thought it need to brasied longer as it was not soft enough.

Viet Food

Chargrilled lemongrass chicken (£6.50) was nice with succlent moist chicken. Full of flavour and goes well with pickle vegetables.

Viet Food

There are five different phos to select from the menu. We tried the pho with the lean rare beef. The broth was fragrant as you expect from a Vietnamese pho.

Viet Food

Bun is a vermicelli noodle that is served like a salad. Each one is toped with cucumber, bers, peanuts and a choice of pork, beef or prawn. They all are serve with a fish sauce which you need to pour over the dish, otherwise the dish is dry and bland.

Viet Food

I do like the decor of Viet food but the food didn’t stand out for me to say “Woah”. I would visit again but not in a rush to. However there will be some dish I would not order such as the belly pork. I probably stick to their pho and bun.

Viet Food

(Prices correct at the time of dining)

Viet Food
34-36 Wardour Street,
London,
W1D 6QT,
UK

http://vietnamfood.co.uk

The House of Ho

The House of Ho is a restaurant opened by chef Bobby Chinn, serving modern Vietnamese. The place opened with a soft launch at the end of last year which I unfortunately missed.

I have heard the name ‘The House of Ho’ many times but I never had the urge to try. But when asked where to eat for a Monday evening I blurted out a list of restaurants around the area of Leicester Square. The House of Ho became a final choice and surprising to us we managed to get a table for two with out any booking.

The House of Ho

The restaurant has a low light setting with wood being a base material, that is used throughout the restaurant. It has that casual feel to the place but classy at the same time. We were seated on a table at the back of the restaurant which had comfy leather seatings. I have to say that I was impressed with the table we got!

The House of Ho

The menu is not long but enough variety to choose. Our waitress advices us that for two people you need about five to six dishes across the whole menu and every thing is for sharing. I asked her what she recommend and she was very helpful in guiding us through the menu and gave us more details about the dishes.

We started with Pho Cuon Cold Noodle rice rolls which has a choice of fillings. We decided on duck (£5) over the fillet mignon (£5.50), as I think duck gives more flavour. Although, if I have another opportunity then I would love to try both side by side.

The roll was a great way to start our meal. The duck indeed helped provide the flavour with a hint of fragrant from the herb. The rolls did not really required the chilli sauce that accompany the dish, but did gave the rolls a fiery kick. My eating guest felt ho sin sauce would had better suited but I personally think the flavour would have over power the roll.

The House of Ho

From the hot and grilled section we ordered the Hanoi’s grilled 5 spices quails on crispy noodles (£9). This was an interested dish as the sauce we got to make ourself, which was zingy and fiery. It was a great dipping sauce for the quail which did not have much flavour but was cooked beautifully.

The House of Ho

The House of Ho

We ordered three dishes from the Ho’s dishes section and one had to be their signature dish, Apple-smoked pork belly served with braised cabbage and half a boiled egg (£11). The dish was very flavoursome – sweet and smokey in taste. The braised cabbage and egg was a good compliment with the belly pork.

The House of Ho

The Lemongrass Monkfish with Fish Caramel sauce (£12) was disappointing in terms of the small portion size with the price tag it attached. But it was tasty with a sweet flavour from the sauce. Both made great dishes to have with Jasmine rice.

The House of Ho

The third dish we ordered was the ‘Shaking Beef’ (£14) which was beautifully cooked 21 day-aged fillet. The beef had a smokey flavour and the salad leaf really complimented the beef, giving it another level to the taste.

The House of Ho

We finished our meal with dessert and their were four to choose. The ice cream trio was not tempting enough as the flavour that evening was vanilla, mango and strawberry which did not seem unique enough.

I went for the Gluten free coconut Che since it must be some Vietnamese influenced dessert. Apparently Che is a Vietnamese term for referring to dessert or sweet beverage. There are different varieties which usually consist of ingredients such as coconut cream, beans or tapioca etc.

The House of Ho Che was like a thick runny dessert. – similar texture to the Chinese sago dessert. The dessert consisted of fresh sweet corns bits and crunchy nuts sprinkle on top, which gave it texture. I was surprised to hear that apparently many customers did not like the dessert, because I thought it was nice. Although I did find it a touch too sweet.

The House of Ho

We also tried the Moltan Marou Chocolate cake (£6.50) which was served with vanilla ice cream. A soft chocolate sponge that had a lava chocolate centre. This is one for dark chocolate lover!

The House of Ho

Overall, the food was nice although some dishes were pricey for the size of the portion. We spent £40pp including two bowl of rice and jasmine tea. I would definitely not be dining here regular. It will what I will refer as fine dining Vietnamese. Even the tap water was fancy with a slice of cucumber.

The House of Ho

I did find that the service for our table of two was slower than compared to the larger tables. It did test my patient! But I felt the staff were friendly, as every one said “hi” from the minute you step indoor and “bye” the minute you walk out of the door.

The House of Ho
55-59 Old Compton Street,
Soho,
London,
W1D 6HR

Ladudu

I have been wanting to write about Ladudu since it opened its doors this year to the public, but it has not reached my list until now. I have also been wanting to give Ladudu a second visit, however that opportunity has not yet arrived.

My first visit was when it had only opened for the first week, so it was a new-born baby that had arrived in West Hampstead. Ladudu is only located a few minutes walk from West Hampstead station.

The restaurant itself feels like a cafe and has a modern relax atmosphere about the place. When I entered in to Ladudu it felt smaller than I thought it was, with upstairs being the dining area and downstairs is the kitchen.

The menu selection is not big compared to some Vietnamese restaurants I have been. But then a smaller selection should make it easy to decide what to order.

There is a range of hot and cold drink including Vietnamese coffee. The restaurant also serves alcohol drinks such as beer and wines. If you want to stick to a Vietnamese theme then there is the option of Vietnamese beer.

I choice to try Ladudu’s iced tea since it was a fairly warm day. The drink was a very light iced tea, and I prefered mine to have more flavour.

As well as ordering our own dishes we decided to try their Banh Cuon (warm rice paper crepe) to share. It is supposed to be fresh steam rice paper wrapped with meat. However, it was the one dish that was disappointing because it had no steam and the end of the roll was dry.

The main dishes was better than our appetizer, where I ordered a beef pho. It might not be the best pho broth I have had but the whole package of the pho had Ladudu own style

The pho came with a separate dish of garnish – beansprouts, fresh chillies, limes, and herb leaves. Also there was a tub of sauce which included hoi sin sauce. The sauce went well with the beef to give it a different flavour, as well bringing the whole beef pho to life.

On the table was also the Com Tam which is pan-fried pork served with a fried egg, some salad and jasmine rice.

We finished off the meal with dessert and we shared the Banh Trang Ngt (pandan pancake with coconut filling and ice cream). We thought it came served with coconut ice cream but to our surprise and even better it tasted more like pandan ice cream.

This dessert was a good recommendation, and make it a good choice for those who like their nuts and coconuts.

Although, it seem like a mixed review for me I would still give Ladudu another try. It was my first visit and also the first week when it was officially open, so things are never perfect. But I suppose no matter we were still a paying customers who expect satisfactory dishes and services.

Ladudu
152 West End Road
West Hampstead
London
NW6 1SD

http://www.ladudu.com/

Cay Tre Soho

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When I heard that Cay Tre had recently opened a branch in Soho, I almost jumped with excitement. The possibility of not having to go all the way to Old Street for Vietnamese cuisines at Cay Tre does sound good.

Unfortunately, as I opened the menu my excitement became disappointment. The menu at Cay Tre Soho was different to the branch at Old Street (https://chechemui.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/cay-tre/). It was a much smaller selection and the dishes looked more fusion.

We ordered the Chefs Vinh Beef (£9.50) from the starters selection, which was charcoal five spiced rib eye beef that was served with a fragrant dipping. You could taste the charcoal in each beef and it went well with the dipping which combined it to make it a fragrant starter.

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I was hoping to order a meatball Pho but as the menu was different, so I ordered the corn-fed chicken Pho (£8.50). When it arrived I could smell the fragrant broth, but £8.50 it seem expensive for just a few shredded corn-fed chicken.

As with all Pho we got a separate plate of fresh Thai basil, beansprouts, chillies and lemon wedges to accompany the noodle soup.

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We also tried the Com Saigon (£9) which is pan-fried pork chop, fried egg served with steamed rice. It also came with some salad and a dipping to go with the dish.

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Although the food was nice, it did seem expensive. The dishes including the Pho was more expensive than Cay Tre in Old Street.

Even though it is located in Soho and modernly design, I am not sure if I would rush to dine again. It’s not the Cay Tre I know or would have like to see.

Cay Tre Soho
42-43 Dean Street
London
W1
UK

http://www.caytresoho.co.uk/

Banh Mi Bay

Few weeks back I was telling a friend how boring lunch is when I am at the office. It is mainly sandwiches or baguette, which usually have the same type of fillings. She then said have you tried Vietnamese baguette and apparently one in the area I work. My first reaction was “Where?” and remembering how I was full of excitement to hear there is actually Vietnamese baguette (Banh mi). It is actually not new according to my friend but for me it was all so fresh for a London lady like me.

Banh Mi Bay is located on Theobalds Road which is a few minutes walk from Chancery Lane tube station. Although I would not say it is located in an eye-catching area, at lunch it is surprising to see how busy it can be. There were people dining inside and there are people standing waiting for their takeaway. It had a buzzing vibe when I first walked in to Banh Mi Bay. The smell from the char-grilled meat was really attractive.

All baguette are filled with shredded pickled carrot and mooli, sliced cucumber, coriander, fresh chilli and a choice of any of the following main filling:

  • Spiced Pork
  • Shredded Caramel Pork
  • Pork Roll
  • Vegetarian Tofu
  • Bay Special (pate, spiced pork and pork roll)
  • Char-grilled Chicken Satay
  • Char-grilled Pork
  • Char-grilled Prawn
  • Char-grilled Beef

You can also get to choose whether you want brown or white bread. Each baguette are price depending on the main filling you have, which are either £3.00 or £3.50 (takeaway) and is about 50p extra if you decide to eat-in.

I choice the Bay Special baguette on white bread, which are all cold filling but tasty. The size of the baguette is like a normal French baguette, except it is not the familiar fillings you would see in London. 

All the filling went well together and the coriander gave it that fragrance taste to the whole baguette. But that is what I like about coriander, although not everyone might agree with me. I find that coriander you either like it or not.  The only thing I will ask to leave out would be the fresh chilli which give a kick to the baguette. However, as a person who cannot stand a spicy flavours I did found the chillies quite fiery and fortunately it was a very little sprinkle of very finely chopped chilli.  

As well as ordering a baguette, I decided to try one of their range of summer rolls and went for the Bi Cuon (Caramel Pork Summer Rolls) – £3.00/£3.50. This is shredded caramel pork, vermicelli noodle, lettuce and Vietnamese herbs wrapped in rice paper. It is a refreshing snack to have which came with a nuoc mam dipping sauce. You need to dip the rolls in the sauce otherwise it lacks flavour. The only down side was I am not a fan of mint in food and in it there was a fresh mint leaf which I assume is what they refer to Vietnamese herbs. Although at the same time it was refreshing my breath!

There are a range of food to order apart from the baguette for takeaway, such as Goi (Vietnamese Salad) with a choice of topping,  Vermicelli noodle salad and even rice box with you choice of meat or tofu. If you have a dessert tooth then you can try some Oriental desserts like Che Dau Trang (coconut glutinous rice with black-eyed peas) or Che Ba Mau (tapioca jelly with kidney beans, coconut cream and crushed ice).

If you eat in then you have further choice of a range of Pho noodle soup or the Banh Canh noodle soup. When I get the chance I would like to dine in and try their Pho. Now that would be a nice change to a salad or a baguette for lunch.

Drinks you are spoilt for choice with fruit smoothies, freshly made juices, iced drinks (including iced Vietnamese coffee), teas, coffees, fizzy drinks, water etc. I saw fresh soya milk on the menu but when I tried to order I was told they did not have them yet. Oh well, maybe they will have it soon when I next visit.

Banh Mi Bay
4-6 Theobalds Road,
Holborn,
London WC1X 8PN

Cay Tre

I was so excited to go down to Old Street to eat Vietnamese food at Cay Tre. It has been an area friends tell me to go for authentic Vietnamese food but it is an area I do not usually choose to go. But a friend birthday has given me a oppotunity to pay a visit. When we arrived it was buzzing packed two floors restaurant. Even when we left there was a queue.

We started with the các món rang muối (chilli salted & peppered soft-shelled crab).

Salt and peppered pork served with rice……..

Being at a Vietnamese restaurant I had to order a phở which is a popular Vietnamese noodle soup. There are variety of pho where some was spicy and other were non-spicy. I want for a non-spicy pho with meatball. But I am sure they gave me beef instead of meatball. It came in two prices for two different size – small (£4) or large  (£6.50). It was a lovely fragrant soup that I could see and taste that it had garlic, coriander and spring onion.

A friend had a small meatball pho but with a spicy soup base. This should have been the meatball I was expecting to get and not beef slice.

I would love to go to Cay Tre again as there are so many other dishes that I want to try. But the soup based of the Pho I had is my current favourite.

Cay Tre
301 Old Street,
London,
EC1V 9LA

http://www.vietnamesekitchen.co.uk/caytre/index.html