OK, so I know I’m a little late with this one but only recently did I lose my Pho virginity. Pho specialise in authentic Vietnamese street food and can be found in Brighton’s South Lanes (towards the seafront).Although it’s a chain, with other restaurants in London and Leeds, from what I experienced in the Brighton branch, it has a personality and sense of authenticity. The food was much better than I thought it would be and I was pleasantly surprised.
We ate in Pho on a Monday evening and it was busy. We sat at the high tables in view of the open kitchen and all the action, something that worked well as the music got louder, the drinks started flowing and the lights dimmed down.
The menu offers plenty to choose from including noodle soups – ‘Pho’ (Vietnam’s national dish) and plenty of rice dishes. One thing I noticed that I loved were the vegetable/fruit juice drinks, made fresh on site, obviously. Not so much a dinner option but I’d definitely grab one if I went in for lunch.
To start with we went for Nem håi sån – large crispy spring rolls filled with prawn, crab & pork with a peanut dipping sauce. These were my favourite, hands down. Wrap the crispy spring roll in the leaf and dip away. We strayed away from the more traditional spring rolls in favour of something more adventurous. The ‘risk’ paid off.
We then went for the Muc chiên giòn – another strong contender for favourite dish – tender baby squid with a salt, pepper and lime dip. YUM.
Main dishes… we kept it traditional. I chose from the Pho menu and went with Bún riêu – a Hanoi classic of vermicelli noodles in a rich tomato and crab broth with wafer thin steak, tofu and a side salad with crispy fried shallots. I couldn’t finish it all, however, I gave it a pretty good go and thoroughly enjoyed it.
If I were to return to Pho, which I most definitely would, I’d choose a mixture of starters instead of a main dish from the menu, simply because I prefer trying a bit of everything – I’m greedy. One thing to keep in mind if you go with a noodle soup… it ain’t great for a date! I definitely struggled to eat it with any kind of elegance, but hey ho.
Jess – The Hunger Laine