One of E’s favourite things about going to get Pho for lunch at work is making as many Pho-puns as possible. The more cringe-worthy, the better. The title is a tribute to his wit.
He totally missed out today though! We went for Pho at Melbourne Vietnam Noodle House on Swanston Street, which is the perfect distance for the walk back to work on a full pho belly. Given the recent desire to move away from Pho Dzung, citing its MSG-erific condiments and slightly wilting ingredients, H led us to MV Noodle House.
Couldn’t have been more surprised to walk in on the very well fitted-out dining hall (including booths down the sides of the room), absolutely filled to the brim with customers. We had to eat upstairs, which was much quieter, foregoing most of the atmosphere, but it was very neat and looked very presentable (which you understand isn’t really what we’re there for, it’s just a bonus I guess) but most of all, clean. With a capital C.
The waiter didn’t seem to want to take our order, he ushered about 4 other groups to tables even though we had started making our order to him and he was jotting it down on the hand-held device (somebody, please enlighten me as to what they’re called, they’re everywhere these days). In fact, even though we had the most simple of orders (3 x small rare beef pho and vegetarian rice paper rolls) we spent about 5 mins telling him and making sure he recited it back. He also wanted us to order by number (on the menu) which was slightly frustrating.
That being said, nothing prepares you for the glory of when your pho arrives at your table, steaming hot, with its little side dish of bean shoots, chilli and greens (top right of picture, completely demolished before I even had a chance to photograph – you have to understand, we’re very hungry little worker bees at 12:30!) I have to go overboard on the chilli, so mine always ends up looking a little on the red side.
We were all agreed that the pho was probably one of the best we’ve had so far in Melbourne – the ingredients were defintely fresh (bean shoots so crispy and sweet, even straight off the plate) and the beef wasn’t chewy by any degree. Noodles were nothing special, but good thickness for slurping. We order rare beef as it cooks in the bowl easily and imparts some of its flavour into the stock as it cooks. In fact, the ‘unflavoured’ bowl of soup stood up to the test, if adding things isn’t your go.
Personally, would’ve loved if that other side of condiments had come – between H and me, we were running desperately short of chilli. We ordered it, but the wait staff are downright incompetent. As we left, he was even downright rude and ignored us, even when we said goodbye.
But that’s not what we were there for!
The vegetarian rice paper rolls would need to be quite special to bump the ones at Pho Dzung out of my number 2 spot (Number 1 is still Miss Chu, but of course, that’s what you pay for!) but these were delicious. The tofu was beautifully soft, the carrot and sprouts were crisp and the vermicelli not too soggy. But best of all was the peanut sauce, lightly chilli spiced with also the added freshness of coriander. Very very tasty. There were 3 of us at the table and 4 rice paper rolls. We all pretended to ignore the last one while we sipped our tea (complementary of course, in the now-familiar thermos) and when L finally asked if we minded very much if she took the last one, well… we ended up having to split it.
Too quick for the camera shot…
VERY GOOD value for money – $10 each bought us the small pho (which is more than enough for lunch!) and the rice paper rolls. BAD service, but we got the food we ordered, so I can’t complain necessarily. GOOD food that was fresh and tasty.
It gets my thumbs up every day! But especially when I’m recovering from my recent lurgey ;) Would love to try some of the other dishes, including non-pho, but when you’re in the mood for pho you can’t really go past it.