Hg2 : The Hedonist

Cay Tre

Hackney’s Kingsland Road is to Vietnamese food what Brick Lane is to curry. Here you’ll find an array of Vietnamese restaurants in London (try Au Lac at 104, Viet Hoa at 74 or Song Que at 134), most of which serve decent enough grub, although some can be severely lacking in atmosphere. However, for the best Vietnamese – and certainly the most lively ambience – head for Cay Tre (the name means ‘bamboo tree’) on nearby Old Street. At weekends, the two simple cafe-style rooms are packed out by the area’s hip twenty-something crowd and there’s usually a queue out of the door on Friday and Saturday nights, when it’s a good idea to book. Food is authentic, fragrant and delicious, with a wonderfully named house special of cha ca la vong – marinated fish, stir-fried with dill and fennel – plus Indochine beef (like sweetly aromatic carpaccio) and a brilliant version of the classic Vietnamese noodle soup pho (pronounced like the French ‘feu’). The young black-clad staff manage to be friendly, despite the fact that they’re run off their feet.


301 Old Street,
+44 20 7729 8662
Opening Times
noon-3.30pm, 5.30-11pm (11.30pm Fri/Sat) Mon-Sat; noon-10.30pm Sun
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