I don’t know if any of you are like me and just think Asian food is way too spicy and avoid it at all costs? (I realise it’s little weird when you consider I come from an Indian background) Well, I’m telling you now, you need to get over your Phobia and get down to the ever growing chain Pho. I finally pulled my finger out and headed down there a few weeks ago. Luckily for me, London literally does everything on its doorstep and with a few Pho’s dotted around, I ended up at the Clerkenwell branch.
We got there early so didn’t have to wait around to be seated and asked for a table at the back. Mainly because it was so windy outside, and the thought of being hit by the wind every time the door opened just didn’t bare thinking about. Instead, the smell of spices wafted down with every new visitor. Bit of a win-win situation if I do say so myself.
We’d both never been before, so had the menu broken down for us. Pho (pronounced fuh) is a Vietnamese national rice noodle soup dish. I got the Phở tái lăn (flash fried steak with garlic). Anything with garlic in is a winner for me and Ang had the Bún gà Huế ( hot & spicy chicken). How you actually pronounce them is anyone’s guess…I usually just point and hope for the best! The smell of Ang’s Pho made my eyes water just looking at it, and when the smell hit me I was basically crying! Although she did say it wasn’t as hot as it looked. Steel tongue. Both dishes came with a side plate of herbs and chillies, so you can chuck in as much or as little as you desired. I decided everything was worth trying (bar the chillies). But that was the beauty of it. With the option to add whatever I want in, there wasn’t any room for surprises (although tap water was at the ready just in case – you can never be too careful and I’m such a wimp when it comes to chillies!). We also got Chả giò (pork spring rolls) to share, which were crispy on the outside, but a beautifully cooked and soft filling. The dip that came with them, complimented the dish perfectly, sort of like a sweet chilli vinegar.
The service was so speedy, which was great as I was starving. And the staff were lovely and attentive. We didn’t grab dessert there though. Although they had hot drink options, sometimes you can’t beat a good old cup of English breakfast tea!
Perfect for a catch up with friends or even date night, this place has something for everyone. Maybe, once I build my spice levels up, I’ll try out the hot and spicy options! Maybe…