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.
Le Hanoi is inexpensive and cheerful in the best way. The restaurant is bright and uplifting with lots of quirky lighting and a whacking Vietnamese flag motif on one wall. The food is crowd-pleasing, with 10 types of pho and sharing platters among the highlights, and all at good value for money, too. The lunch menu comes in even better with one side and one main getting you change from a tenner.
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.