Steaming bowls of pho, fresh summer rolls, bun bo salads and densely packed banh mi – Soho is bursting with Vietnamese food, and these are the best places to get it.
The very cool industrial-chic Viet Food came to life when former Hakkasan chef Jeff Tan decided he wanted to celebrate the street food of Vietnam. Start with traditional appetisers such as summer rolls and prawn crackers from the Mama’s Picks section of the menu, before diving into the Vietnamese Modern Tapas section. It even does a Vietnamese take on bento boxes for lunch.
Sister to the Cây Tre on Old Street, the Soho site is clean and contemporary in its decor, allowing the punchy cookery to take centre stage. The food is best shared, not least because that way you can try a range of rolls, curries and josper dishes, but if you want a complete meal for one, larger bowls such as crispy noodles with pork, prawns, squid, lobster, stir-fried vegetables and broth will hit the spot.
Banana Tree may be a pan-Asian restaurant that leans heavily towards Thai food, but there are also Vietnamese treats, including pho and bun bo salad, on offer. Whether you pop in for a quick lunch or pre-theatre dinner, finish off your meal with a traditional Vietnamese iced coffee.
Though Pho is a chain, it hasn’t turned all its sites into identikit restaurants. The Soho branch is housed in a listed building that was once home to a famous furniture designer in the late 18th century, and the original brickwork and sash windows remain. The food is reliably consistent, and there are many different phos to choose from, including some hot and spicy specials native to Huế.
Bahn Mi Keu Deli is the fast-food arm of the Vietnamese Kitchen group (which also owns Cây Tre). The banh mi is the main draw of this deli – there is a classic version as well as other pork-heavy combinations, a coconut chicken curry option and a veggie one with smoky aubergine and tofu. The summer rolls and Vietnamese drip coffee are both worth an order, too.
It’s not hard to work out what you’re in for at Pho and Bun; the restaurant, from the Viet Eat team, focusses on pho and bao bun burgers. The selection of pho on offer includes spicy options and a ‘dry’ pho with salad replacing the broth. In terms of the steamed bao burgers, you can opt for standard Asian flavour combinations or go down the fusion route with the beef patty, pickle and smoky mayo bun. The menu also has classic Vietnamese fare.
Viet is very much a no-frills kind of place – it’s quite small, and the service is informal. However, when you’re craving a filling meal at a reasonable price, then it certainly does the job. The menu isn’t massive but features all the Vietnamese classics you could want as well as some Thai dishes should you fancy something with a little more heat.
Need somewhere to crash after wining and dining in Soho? Book one of the best hotels around the central hub of Piccadilly Circus through Culture Trip and secure the perfect base for exploring the area.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.