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Lovers of Vietnamese food who can’t get to Kingsland Road will be glad of this ‘cheap & cheerful’ mini-chain. As the name suggests, trendy Pho specialises in Vietnam’s national dish of noodles
in soup, bringing fresh, vibrant cooking ‘bursting with a million flavours’ to London & beyond. Unlike many Vietnamese restaurants that squeeze the entire national repertoire onto one menu,
this outfit has edited its selection to variations on soup, bun (vermicelli with stir-fried toppings), goi (salads) & the ever-popular spring & summer rolls. Don’t miss out on the papaya
salad, pork & lemongrass meatballs or the house pho with fascinating additions; also, don’t overlook the coffee specialities, including the ‘weasel’ brew made from beans digested & passed
by Vietnamese weasels –a Pho UK exclusive.
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03 March 2011
Vietnamese restaurants have began to mushroom outside of their better known home along Kingsland Road of late. It only seemed natural with the Hoxton boom. Along with Hoxton upping its cool to become the current trendy area of London, Vietnamese cuisine which was once the reserve and secret indulgence of the locals there have also grown in popularity. Which is hardly surprising for the increasingly health conscious. Warming broth and rice noodles are not only comforting especially on a cold winter's day, it is guilt and practically feels calorie free.
Pho is one of the Vietnamese restaurants that have caught on this desire for healthy Vietnamese food. Although it isn't the first to open in Soho, it has certainly made itself the most attractive one to go to. Pho is an altogether pleasant dining experience. It's the perfect casual and value for money dining. Eating out affordably often equates to being shooed out with the bill on the table the moment you have your last bite from your plate but service at Pho is unhurried. Staff gives you the choice to eat and dash or to mill around after your food for a drink and a chat with a friend. With the warm lighting, fireplace and exposed brickwork, the Wardour Street restaurant is particularly welcoming.
And I love the giant stock pot that simmers by the bar in full view to the public. Pho clearly takes enormous pride of their stock to make it a feature of the restaurant. I'm not sure about Vietnamese restaurants along Kingsland Road. They certainly are tasty but you often leave feeling parched and thirsty and one wonders if it's attributed to the MSG. Pho's beef stock is subtle and suitably savoury. Light and fragrant with the option of having your rice noodles accompanied with juicy meatballs, brisket or a sirloin cut of beef. There's also vegetarian, seafood or chicken options and if soup isn't what you're looking for, there's Bun noodles – kind of like a large salad made up of rice noodles with a delicious stir fry topping (pork and lemongrass meatballs being my favourite choice), generous amounts of grated cabbage, sprouts with a sweet chilli dressing to drizzle over on the side.
Pho's menu is short and focused. There isn't an array of options like most other Vietnamese restaurants but she's picked some of the most accessible dishes and made them to their best. The usual favourites such as Vietnamese summer rolls and pancakes and zingy salads are offered as starters.
An inviting and warm restaurant with a casual and friendly service, it certainly has saved me the journey to Kingsland Road for Vietnamese anymore.
07 December 2010
Fantastic restaurant. New to the neighbourhood, but making it's mark very quickly. One of the best designed places in Soho. Great ambiance and atmosphere. The food is wonderful too. Full of fresh flavours and ingredients. Definitely stands with the best Asian food places in Soho. Highly recommended.
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