During my two month stay in Vietnam, I devoured at least one bowl of Pho every day. So you can imagine my excitement to try the new Pho restaurant in Kingston.
Pho is a national dish in Vietnam. It’s simple but mouth-watering; rice noodles in an aromatic broth with herbs. Throw in some chillies, meat or fish if you want and there you have it.
I was excited but also sceptical; the Pho in London never quite compares to what’s on offer in the mother country. On top of this Pho has 22 branches and is owned by an English couple, which served only to exacerbate my worries about authenticity.
The décor is the first element to impress; trendy yet rustic with brick walls and hanging bamboo-esque lampshades. It’s dark, warm and intimate.
We are greeted warmly and led to our table. The service was fantastic- if you needed something, someone was right by your side but at the same time staff do not hover.
We had the North Vietnamese speciality Bánh cuốn, delicate steamed rice crepes filled with pork and wood ear mushrooms. We also had the prawn version and both were light, fresh and flavoursome.
For main, of course, Pho, and it did not disappoint. I had Phở tái chín, steak and brisket, and the flavours were bang on- although there was slightly more fat in the broth than was necessary.
We also went for Phở Xào, Wok fried flat rice noodles with lemongrass, chilli, Asian greens and pork, but found it lacked the same punch as the other dishes and the serving was a little light on pork. However, the menu is varied for your taste needs.
The drinks menu is small but well chosen- the cocktails look great but we went with Beer Lao. Not Vietnamese but a great lager.
Overall, I would recommend the experience. The dimly lit interior, the delicious aromas and eclectic music bind to create a relaxed, intimate, but at the same time social atmosphere. The staff melt into this seamlessly. Oh, and the Pho is great.
Try it out- it’s an evening well spent.