Pho Vietnam now has a new outlet at Havelock Road. At first it seemed a bit confusing as to why they'd open up a new spot so close to their Thimbirigasyaya outlet, but then again you can never have a shortage of pho spots.
So if you feel like getting your slurp on (forgive me) and chowing down on some tasty eats, this is your spot. They're located right behind Baguette- which is a brilliant French Bakery, on Havelock Road. It's a bigger space, so you can take your entire extended family along. You can also park a fleet of cars by the front if you get creative.
It was just me, this time around. Going by yourself for reviews is both a boon and a curse: on one hand, you can order whatever the hell you like but on the other, you have to finish it all. Sounds easy enough sure, but I've caught myself on various occasions on the verge of crying because I was too full from my first main. Enough of this now, let's move on to the food.
Right, here's a photo of their Crispy Wontons (Rs. 450). This can generally be grouped into the same samosa/dumpling food circle – don't come at me – and is essentially a good starter.
The wonton skin is crisp and delicate. Each er, dumpling, is stuffed with chicken and perhaps a few other flavour boosters such as cilantro, carrots and whatnot. The little dish contains some garlic fish sauce- and delivers a punch when you dip n' eat.
The Tomato Tofu (Rs. 550) was impressive in its heft. A generous portion comprising of large, fat bricks of tofu is slathered in a combination of tomato and (most likely) soy sauce. It's garnished with spring onion and chopped tomato.
How does it taste? The tofu is a bit chewy, but it's done such a great job of soaking in all that juice that its practically bursting with flavour. A good appetiser for when you want to share with a group. NOT meant for a single serving.
The clear soup tasted very much like beef broth. It was mild and light. I'd advise you to pour this right into the bowl of vermicelli. It comes garnished with some spring onion and perhaps a slice of shallot or two. No additional salt required.
Cool so if you're going to order this dish, do so at your own expense. The Dry Chicken Vermicelli is very, very dry. As stated. Perhaps not the best option if you're looking for something a bit messy and soupy.
For one I really should have got a bowl of pho, which I'm guessing is their speciality. Probably. But their pho has always been good. It's full of flavour and a lot of different textures at play.
This particular dish though, isn't. It's rather bland, with only the tight portion of chicken and scattered peanuts offering some semblance of taste. If you dislike cilantro, then stay far away from this. Like I stated before, perhaps enjoy this by adding the clear soup into the bowl.
They have a fair range of drinks, but I decided to stick with the Matcha Latte (Rs. 450) and a Vietnamese Iced Coffee (Rs. 400).
The Matcha latte is great. It's got a large amount of matcha in it and comes served slightly iced. I'm not sure why, but there it is. The sweet yet vegetal taste of matcha comes through rather well balanced out by the milk content here. Overall, a decent beverage. One time, an intern tried to school Vishvi and I on the mechanisms of a Vietnamese Coffee. It was strange, but a funny situation. Known as the cà phê đá- this drink is essentially roast Vietnamese coffee served with a Vietnamese drip.
The coffee is filtered into a mug of condensed milk. Once it's all dripped through, you can add in your ice cubes and enjoy.
The colour was a lovely, rich brown. It tasted great, somewhat bitter and sharp. I asked for the name of the brand, but the fellow who served it to me just said it was 'imported from Vietnam'.
Service & Ambience
The service here is very friendly, with one Lankan dude serving tables and taking orders. The Vietnamese owners linger around and will occasionally amble to your table and ask you for feedback.
Service was prompt and efficient. The food was brought out in about 10-15 minutes.
The tables and chairs are set at a comfortable distance. The place gets a lot of light, and is a good choice for a group study sesh, family chitchat or just for you to go by yourself.
The walls have random patches of photographs containing interesting photos depicting Vietnam. Have a look-see while you wait for your meal.
Pho's Thimbirigasyaya outlet is a famous rendezvous for all my friends to meet, so I'm assuming we'll switch to the Havelock counterpart. Either way, it doesn't really make a difference; their coffee is on point and the dishes are interesting.
Just don't get the dry stuff.