Pho bills itself as London’s ‘first specialist Vietnamese street-food restaurant’, a brazen lie that’d shame Shia LaBoeuf himself. But they are amongst the first of London’s restaurants to make Vietnamese food truly accessible, which is definitely a good thing.
The interior binds together whitewashed wood and garish neons, and is presumably modelled on the insufferable idea of anklet-wearing gap yah cretins bopping away at Full Moon parties in a desperate attempt to wreck every inch of paradise they can get their banjo-playing hands on.
It’s also absolutely tiny. And I mean tiny. This unfortunately necessitates tables being pressed so close together that you’ll oft find yourself being presented with a stranger’s buttocks as they shimmy past in a cacophony of embarrassed British apologies, almost knocking your drinks off your table with nothing but their shame. An unusual way to start a meal, in my book.
This bizarre experience becomes bearable, however, when the food arrives.
We tried the summer rolls, which looked sort of like the Chinese spring roll’s gym-going, green smoothie-slurping sister. Served cold, these nutritious little parcels of goodness are wrapped in rice paper and stuffed full of fresh veggies and herbs – a far cry from the insipid grey sludge that usually leaks out of Chinese spring rolls.
Next up was Pho for us, the thinking man’s choice in a restaurant so confident in its noodle soups that it named itself after it.
We tried two flavours from Pho’s never-ending list of options – beef with garlic, and beef with brisket, both of which were served American style in vats that would probably feed 8 or 9 people.
Full of rich, meaty stock, beef and herbs aplenty, both Pho soups were pretty tasty – but they didn’t blow my mind. Then again, they give you seasonings and ask you to do it yourself so perhaps I’m just a shit seasoner..
Gluten Free: Yes, most Vietnamese dishes are naturally gluten free, they seem to favour rice noodles and rice paper and don’t use soy sauce very much at all. Good news indeed.
The Verdict: Good value, tasty gluten free food that’s healthy(ish) – Not bad, but not incredible either.