Vietnamese at Cây Tre

March 25th, 2010

Despite absolutely stuffing myself to the point of bursting with delicious Indian food earlier on this afternoon for a colleague’s leaving do, I’d already arranged to have dinner with Chris tonight at a Vietnamese restaurant so out I went again.

Unfortunately I’d forgotten the name of the restaurant that had been recommended to me (it’s pretty much a running joke that I forgot almost everything) so Chris had to do some last minute restaurant picking, he came up with the goods though!

After a short walk from work down to Shoreditch and a quick stop for a few relaxing drinks in Casita Bar (plus a free shot of Jager, thanks guys), we carried on to Old Street and found ourselves at Cây Tre.

From the outside Cây Tre is a colourful little place, though on the inside the two floor restaurant is quite small and minimalist, packing many people quite efficiently into the space. We were lucky we got there when we did as not long after we arrived the queue for a table was out the door and along the street.

Smells coming from the adjacent tables spoke wonders about the food, so I was adventurous and went for the “swimming crab” to start with and then Pho Tai for my main. Chris ordered some prawn summer rolls and sizzling seafood.

The crab was good, mixed with prawns, noodles and mushrooms, however the crab was swimming in what was apparently a crab broth… despite actually not tasting all that bad it was pretty unsightly and reminded me of something else that I really didn’t fancy eating!

Snuck a bite of Chris’ summer rolls as well and they were lovely and fresh, served along with a hoisin sauce mixed with a chilli paste that gives you a kick of warmth under the sauce.

I knew my Pho was going to be spicy when I ordered it, it’s usually a given, but perhaps I underestimated *quite* how spicy it might be. My eyes started watering slightly immediately after it arrived at the table.

Despite putting me into a full on sweat and turning my face and lips an interested shade of purple that I really hope nobody other than Chris noticed, the Pho was absolutely delicious. The broth was packed with flavour and the hit of the spices wasn’t too harsh to the palate, the noodles were fresh and soft, the beef had been cooked in the broth making it tender and full of flavour and whatever else was lurking in there was also tasty.

I’d definitely recommend Cây Tre to anyone that can tolerate a bit of spice, though being based in Shoreditch it also helps if you can tolerate Hoxtonites!

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