Pho is a small chain of Vietnamese street food restaurants. The brand has been serving up its authentic fare in the UK for over a decade.
The Birmingham branch of Pho is situated in a balcony within Grand Central, overlooking Birmingham New Street station – it’s a very busy hub and an ideal place for shoppers and commuters alike.
Diners can choose from more than 15 freshly made Pho noodle soups, as well as other Vietnamese street foods like spicy salads, fragrant curries and wok-fried noodles. The Pho To Go menu is available seven days a week, to order at the counter.
On this occasion I was accompanied by my friend Ruth, we decided to share plates, to gain a good overall taste of the dishes.
There’s a nice range of bottled beers here, I stuck to what I know which is Saigon Export. We asked for suggestions on recommended dishes, and both members of staff we spoke to, were extremely informative and friendly, one being a manager.
Fresh rice paper summer rolls to Vietnamese chicken curry
To start we ordered the Gỏi cuốn Fresh rice paper summer rolls with herbs, vermicelli & pickle, with a peanut dip sauce. These really were, very fresh. I’ve tried rice paper rolls in some top restaurants and these are probably the best. Light, crunchy and full of taste.
We also tried the Chả giò Crispy spring rolls served with lettuce & herbs to wrap & dip and a Nuoc Cham sauce. Not too greasy as some spring rolls tend to be, again these were light, crispy and you could tell they were made to order. The dip was quite hot and a perfect accompaniment. We finished both dishes and looked forward to the mains.
I ordered the Bun Vermicelli rice noodles, with chicken, and a lemongrass and chilli wok-fried topping. Served with fresh herbs, beansprouts, veggie spring roll and peanuts. The noodles are served at room temperature like in Vietnam. The Nuoc Cham sauce and mix, arrived in a dish, and I poured it generously over the noodles. One thing that is very consistent with Pho, the ingredients, and also style of cooking, tastes both fresh and healthy. However taste is not compromised. This is a huge dish and I didn’t quite manage to reach the bottom but that wasn’t from lack of trying, superb value for money.
Ruth ordered a Cà-ri rich, fragrant Vietnamese chicken curry, with veggies & mushrooms, topped with nuts & served with broken rice. I tasted this too, and the sauce was incredible. Rich, coconut infused, slightly creamy but none of the tastes were over powering, nor was it so rich you wouldn’t want to eat the whole thing. I may return just to order this all for myself. The chicken was soft and tender and in all a pretty awesome dish.
To finish we tried the Bánh sô-cô-la truffleChocolate truffle slab served with green tea ice cream, and what a perfect way to end the meal. You could really taste the tea flavour in the ice cream, and the chocolate was soft, silky and very sweet.
For those yet to familiarise themselves with Pho, do so soon, but please leave enough of the curry for my next pootle down.
Review & Images by Nick Byng for Grapevine Birmingham.