Saigon Pho (Carlton)

So I managed to make it back to Lygon Street for my Vietnamese after I was convinced that there is actually decent pizza to be had there (who would’ve thought, huh?) and pulled up a chair at Saigon Pho. It’s in the part of Lygon Street that others call the ‘terrace end’ (due to there being a lot of historical terraced shops in a row) but I call it the end of ‘world cuisine’ as you’ll find pretty much everything here except for an awful Italian pizza joint. (Here’s your Vietnamese style iced coffee and Longan drink – each $3.50)

Because The Boy doesn’t work in town with me, he hasn’t been privy to the endless quest for good Pho in the CBD and I thought it was about time to take him out and get out of this ‘Viet for lunch’ rut I’m in. To start, we got ourselves some rice paper rolls to share, vegetarian-style. I thought they were rather bland compared with most others, but the sauce was nice (serve is 3 rolls at $7)

We ordered one regular sized beef pho, which comes rare (as it should) and with a plethora of condiments (I go heavy on the mint, chilli and the chilli bottle on the table, low on the other sauces and so forth as I’ve found they’re the most likely MSG culprits). I tasted the broth before I loaded up and was really happy to find it full of flavour (it had that chicken stock taste, which I think is preferable to hot water lack-of-taste). At $9.50 I was expecting one of the quite large bowls, but it sort of looked regular-sized (or ‘small’ as we call it here in town!) Unseasoned:

The condiments are a little on the skimpy side, but I suppose that’s fair enough, given it is only Pho for one.

I’m also a huge fan of the vermicelli noodle salads at Miss Chu (excuse my learning-how-to-blog style), but this one was definitely of a standard. This one was with skewered pork ($9.90) and the meat was absolutely delicious. Pour the sauce over the whole lot and mix through (or keep separate if you’re a little bit OCD like I am about foods touching)

It was really refreshing to have good service. I can’t remember the last time I did when I had Pho. The restaurant was reasonably busy for a Wednesday night and as I jealously eyed the three-coloured drink of the girl sitting across from us, I realised that this wasn’t just an ‘average’ Vietnamese restaurant, but that it was GOOD. They’re kicking goals with everything and leaving my pretty pleased to have this place within a 5 minute drive of my house. I will most certainly be back when the next Pho craving hits!

Saigon Pho (Carlton) on Urbanspoon

Ambience: 7/10
Service: 10/10
Food: 8.5/10
Value for money: 8/10 (a little more expensive than the city, although I believe the food is a bit higher standard)
Score (food is weighted double): 84%

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