Saturday, 8 November 2008


A couple of days ago my daughter and I checked out a Vietnamese noodle bar called Pho, conveniently near Oxford Circus. It specialises in Pho (pronounced fuh), an unbelievably addictive, tasty noodle soup, not flattered by the rather murky picture to the right.

The basic broth, which usually includes some kind of meat, is quite bland - you zip it up to your own taste with fresh herbs such as coriander and mint, chillies and/or chilli sauce and fish sauce. I thought they were slightly stingy about the herbs. I haven't been to Vietnam but have eaten a similar soup in Bangkok where you got a great jugful on the table. But it's tasty and, as they correctly point out, very healthy.

My Pho Tai Bo Vien which also included meatballs was £7.45, not bad for a West End lunch though probably 10 times the price you would pay in Vietnam. I suspect you could also find it more cheaply in the Vietnamese restaurants along Kingsland Road in Hackney though I haven't been down there for a while.

I've also had a go at making it at home with reasonable success - you can find the recipe on my student website


shoegazer said...

Hi Fiona,

Yes, you're quite right, enjoying a big bowl of Pho is ridiculously cheap in Vietnam. I ate it frequently both there and a similar, milder version in Cambodia.

Incidentally, did you find it quite a filling dish?

Fiona Beckett said...

Interestingly enough, yes. And there's not much to it apart from a few noodles and a large amount of liquid. You can't eat/slurp it fast though because of the spicy elements you add to it so by the time you've finished you do feel full up.

shoegazer said...


Pho is actually reviewed in this weeks' Time Out magazine as part of a special 'Cheap Eats' edition.

It's a really good feature - lots of frugal eateries recommended - and helpful to refer to when looking for budget eating inspiration in London.

Good news for frugal diners!

Fiona Beckett said...

thanks shoegazer. Here's the url for those of you who haven't yet picked up a copy

shoegazer said...

Fiona - I went along to the same Pho place a few days ago, out of curiosity.

It's pretty authentic and similar to what you get at street stalls in Vietnam - albeit the price is rather different!

I think the tricky thing with Pho is that the it comes in such a huge bowl that by the time you get to the bottom of it, the Pho itself is rather lukewarm. And yes, they were stingy with my herbs too!

However, it was pretty good and reasonably priced, considering the location, and the restaurant itself was very attractive - a good, offbeat place for a date, I reckon.

Anyway, it would have been rude not to give London Pho a go!