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City Caphe, Bank

City Caphe - Banh Mi Close-up

I've just been in Japan for a fortnight and I really didn't want to leave.

But when I was on the plane back to Blighty, I decided to count my blessings, one of which is a little Vietnamese cafe near my office called City Caphe.

City Caphe - Decorations

Open only at lunchtimes, I've got through many a long morning at my desk by day-dreaming about City Caphe's food.

The day-dreaming continues as I wait in their queue which stretches out the door - it's a dratted constant, but it's worth standing there, even in the rain.

City Caphe - Books for browsing

Sometimes I press my nose against the window, Charlie Bucket-like, to stare at the gorgeous steaming dishes that others are already enjoying.

The queue continues to wind inside, but rather charmingly, they have a selection of books for the hungry punters to pass the time.

City Caphe - Summer Rolls

I'm not a bread person, but even I adore City Caphe's banh mi, and their summer rolls are the best I've had (apart from my own) - packed with prawns and herbs, though there's a tofu version for the vegetarians.

They have tubs of fabulously zingy papaya and mango salad which cost about £3 - I always pick one up from the shelves as I wait to be served.

City Caphe - Banh Mi Counter

Their pho is wonderful too - delicious broth which is somehow delicate yet punchy at the same time.

My only quibble is I want more greenery, more bumf to scatter on top - you get a little plastic bag containing a lime wedge, some chilli rings and a a few choice leaves, but this isn't enough to satisfy my lust for foliage.

City Caphe - Lunch!

By far my favourite dish is their bun bo hue - a vibrant, spicy, meaty beef and pork lemongrass broth with fat, round rice noodles.

I invariably order this, with extra napkins as I almost always manage to splatter myself.

City Caphe - Bun Bo Hue again

However, it was City Caphe's first birthday recently, and they celebrated by having a week of specials - one of which comfortably toppled bun bo hue as my beloved.

Pleasingly, it was a dish which I asked them to make as I'd never had it before (the lovely lady in charge is Julie Vu and she's on twitter as @CityCaphe and asked for suggestions) - bun rieu cua - crab noodle heaven.

If I wish very hard, they might make it again, but alas it won't become a regular item on their menu (I am wishing very hard right now).

City Caphe - Bun Rieu Noodles

I've been comforted and excited though to find out that City Caphe have decided to do a couple of special one-off nights to show off their repertoire.

A collaboration with L'Amant Dining, the people behind Banh Mi 11, on Thursday 3rd and Saturday 5th November, they will be feeding some lucky people a frankly fantastic-sounding menu.

I've booked to go on the 3rd - hopefully I'll see some of you there.

City Caphe - Table

City Caphe
17 Ironmonger Lane
Open weekdays 11.30am to 4.00pm

Book their 3rd and 5th November supperclub here

City Càphê on Urbanspoon


Kavey said…
YAY! No kicking for YOU!
Wow. That kick produced quite a post :-)

GUTTED I'll be missing the debut City Caphe supperclub. Looking forward to your review after :-)

The Grubworm said…
Awesomeness. That's pretty much all I have to say on the subject of City CaPhe ;)

We have one that's opened up about 100 yards from my office and there are no big queues (yet). On the downside there is also no salad or crab noodles (it's a small joint).

The beef banh mi there is to dies for and the people are so friendly. It has become my regular lunch haunt.
catty said…
We ate there together Mimi! Awwwww memoriessss xx
meemalee said…
@Kavey - Thank gawd.

@Going With My Gut - It was your post that reminded me that I really needed to write about it myself! Sorry you won't be there!

@The Grubworm - Erm, different people - City Caphe is independent. You're thinking of Ca Phe! from Ca Phe VN ;P
youngandfoodish said…
Beautiful words, thoughts and photos. Thank you for sharing them.

I've found that sometimes you can judge the quantity of a casual restaurant by counting the number of nose prints on the front window.
PDH said…
Looks like my comment didn't save, the food looks beautiful and so fresh. Really must make the effort to get over here for lunch sometime soon!
meemalee said…
@catty - Sweet memories :)

@youngandfoodish - Thanks Dan! And what a lovely sentiment!

@Pavel - Soooo good. Damn those queues.
The Grubworm said… City Caphe and Ca Phe of Broadway market and Clerkenwell Rd are different? *Confused* Never the less, both are purveyors of fine Banh Mi are well worth many lunchtime visits.
meemalee said…
@The Grubworm - Right on both counts :)
mycookinghut said…
Looks pretty good! I think I am going to check it out!