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|Address:||301 Old Street, London EC1V 9LA|
|Tel:||020 7729 8662|
|Price: £34.00||Wine: £12.75|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sun 12N-11pm (Fri-Sat -11.30pm Sun -10.30pm)|
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It was hot. We were hungry enough to eat but not hungry enough for anything heavy. Something light, quick and reasonable. Wandering around the vicinity of Hoxton Square we had a fair share of options but at the sign of Cây Tre we knew we had found our place. Vietnamese food was the perfect match. But would Cây Tre meet our specifications on this hot day?
Once again we find ourselves battling through hundreds of alluring dishes. At least the menu is smaller than other Asian restaurants, but at the sight of crab, ox cheek, catfish, Ecuador prawns and dumplings we felt just as flustered. The only way of maximizing our menu insight was choosing a number of small dishes to share. The Salmon Summer Rolls with kaichoy, avocado, fresh ginger & wasabi soy vinaigrette were a delight to start with. Salmon & avocado is an ideal couple and the mild heat from the ginger & wasabi only enhances their relationship. A simple & healthy starter suitable for a warm summer evening.
Salt & Pepper Softshell Crab was so-so, or as we say in Swedish; “sådär” – okay but could have been better. There were too many onions on the side, where a spicy dipping sauce should have been standing instead. The crab was not overly deep-fried which I appreciated but too plain on its own two claws. My pick of the pack was the Okra & Aubergine Curry with coconut cream & cardamom. Tender aubergine, creamy coconut and the subtle bite of the okra created a beautiful and soothing consistency. Loved the concept of the Saigon Xeo Pancake with chicken, shrimps & kaichoy leaves to wrap. Anything in a pancake form tends to create excitement but the filling was a little bare. The accompanying sauce helped the best it could but overall needed something more to pull the flavours together. The pancake itself was pleasantly crispy on the plus side.
With a fresh, creative and affordable approach, Cây Tre serves a mixture of Vietnamese dishes. For the traditional Pho & Ramen lovers, meat fans, curry devotees or seafood enthusiasts, this kitchen has it covered. And for those with an experimental flair, the menu boasts a selection of interesting combinations and ingredients. Next time I’m wandering around Hoxton I might return for the stir-fried Tonkin Jasmine Flower and not sure how we overlooked the Barbequed Somerset Ribs with lemongrass, siracha chilli sauce & galangal.