Wednesday, 26 October 2011

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
London
EC2V 8EY
http://www.citycaphe.com/
Open weekdays 11.30am to 4.00pm

Book their 3rd and 5th November supperclub here

City Càphê on Urbanspoon

11 comments:

  1. Wow. That kick produced quite a post :-)

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

    Wen

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  2. 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.

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  3. We ate there together Mimi! Awwwww memoriessss xx

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  4. @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

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  5. 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.

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  6. 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!

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  7. @catty - Sweet memories :)

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

    @Pavel - Soooo good. Damn those queues.

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  8. Wait...so 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.

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  9. @The Grubworm - Right on both counts :)

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  10. Looks pretty good! I think I am going to check it out!

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Thanks for taking the time to comment!