Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Oh my Pho!

And so after our long day at the Tate Modern, it was time to...

have more gastromical experiences!

This time it was going to be Vietnamese. A recommendation that Hong Kong P had gotten from someone at work. It sounded legit so I routed us appropriately and we took the underground there. Not too shabby (I'd like to make a shameless plug here and say that she got her all-day unlimited transit pass for 30% off via my awesome yearly transit card...instead of paying 8pounds for the thing she paid around 5pounds. So good!).

The place of choice was Cay Tre. I was getting more and more into the heart of London and I was loving it. Absolutely loving it.

Once again we hadn't booked a table (noticing a trend here?) so we waiting in the queue for a table. Luckily the wait was only about 10 minutes and we were in no hurry so it was fantastic. Table right in the corner on the first floor. Booyah!

And what did we order, you ask?

Quite a few things, actually. And it was all pretty lovely.

First some appetizers. This was an eggplant with minced pork and other things (called nuoc cham). Basically it was green onions, maybe some chilies, and a hell of a lot of oil and fish sauce. Was it tasty? Yes, yes it was. It was also totally different than what we thought it would be, given that it was called "Piggy grilled aubergine."

I guess we expected something more along the Chinese lines, like a chopped up eggplant with a sauce or something. We were wrong. This is not the first time I've received basically a whole/half eggplant in place of a chopped up one. Maybe I just need to change my expectations. :)

We also ordered pretty traditional vegetarian spring rolls. These had tofu, mint, lettuce, bean sprouts, and basil in them. Nothing too exciting, actually, but still nice; it's been a long time since I've had anything like these. Maybe Flow Festival last year. Man, that's sad.

They came with a slightly less traditional hoisin-peanut-sriracha sauce. It was tasty but not quite what I was used to. Still liked it.

And our grynormous drink. It did say "for two" on the menu, but this was not what we were thinking. It's basically a sangria but it had lots of juice and wine in it. It tasted a lot like mango though I'm pretty sure it had no actual mango in it. Curious. Anyway, this is one of those drinks I would generally categorize as "dangerous."

And for the amazing main course she and I both ordered pho after staring at their menu and realizing they had specialty pho. I'm always divided between getting pho and vermicelli, since I love them both so much and they're both hard to get (or at least in Helsinki they were).

This was incredible. Absolutely incredible. No way to describe it. The smell made my mouth water and it was like the most savory food smell I'd smelled in forever. It just smelled like good food, without smelling like something in particular. It smelled like...good. That's all I can say about it.

It's called the Saigon Sate Pho and it had poached hanger steak in a "robust chili broth" (that's saying it lightly, it was spicy and amazing...made my throat feel like it was on fire but it was totally worth it...and strangely, as I ate it more it burned less). The broth claimed to have Thai basil, mango, and crushed peanuts. That would explain the thickness and inability for me to identify its smell. It just smelled like...good. Like I said. Absolutely incredible.

All of their phos, I'm pretty sure, are based off of a bone marrow broth. This is what our more extensive menu was saying, anyway, and I totally believe it. It's gorgeous and wonderful and full.

I would gladly eat here again. I was stuffed to the brim with liquids and food by the end and felt a little uncomfortable but I would definitely come all the way back out here just to eat this pho. That's saying something, because it's nowhere close to my home (it's in the middle towards eastern end of zone 1 and I'm on the western side of zone 3).

This place was incredible and the staff was really friendly.

It was all we could do to eventually leave and roll home, full and satisfied as we were.

So glad to have gotten this recommendation. Would definitely take people here.

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