If you fancy tasting the delights of Vietnamese street food, but can’t afford a return ticket to Ho Chi Minh City, then head over to Eden Street’s new restaurant, Pho Café.
Upon arrival you cannot help but notice the huge wicker lampshades hanging above each table giving out a warm glow and creating a cosy, romantic atmosphere.
The menu is a little confusing if you are not familiar with Vietnamese food, but the staff are helpful and didn’t tire of our incessant questions – I think we may have made the waitress explain each meal on the menu. After a lot of deliberation, we decided to order Pho, which is Vietnamese noodle soup. We were under the impression that if the restaurant is named after it, then it must be good.
Armed with chopsticks and a big wooden spoon, we slurped our way through the soup which had rice noodles, vegetables and herbs in delicious and slightly sweet broth with a choice of meat or tofu. It is very Instagram-worthy for those of us who can’t eat a meal until we have taken the perfect picture as the greens are perfectly arranged on the top.
The blend of spices gives it a very aromatic flavour and it has a variety of textures for just one meal; the slippery noodles with the crunchy vegetables and chewy tofu make it a very unique dish and fun to eat. I liked that the meal was healthy but also very filling, it seemed like the bowl was bottomless and none of us could finish it.
Halfway through eating I came to the conclusion that while it was a great place to go with a group of friends, it would not be ideal for a date or if you want to impress someone. I felt sorry for my friend sitting opposite me, who I did splash on a number of occasions and it was a little embarrassing when the waitress came and asked if I wanted a fork. While I am not the most competent person at eating soup with chopsticks, I like a challenge and persevered (much to the disappointment of my companion opposite.) Also, we thought that the tables are too small and we felt cramped, which is not good when you are trying to enjoy your dinner while also trying not to elbow your neighbour and spill your glass of wine.
Overall we enjoyed our Vietnamese street food experience, there were no complaints about the food and the staff were very friendly and attentive. I definitely want to go back again and I would recommend it to anyone who has not tried Vietnamese food before or wants a healthy, filling and delicious meal.
The prices are not bad if you compare with other typical chain restaurants such as Wagamama or Nando’s, the mains are on average £9 and the starters £4.50. However, if you want cheap and authentic Vietnamese food then maybe look elsewhere.