Peter Morrell enjoys a great dining experience at this Vietnamese restaurant which really lives up to its name
One of the culinary joys of living in London is access to food from all four corners of the world. Spitalfields in the East End is particularly rich in international cuisine. I recently visited the area and had lunch at Delicious Pho, a restaurant with Vietnamese origins, but it has made the journey here via Canada.
Delicious Pho was founded by Chau Tran, she moved from Vietnam to Canada in 1992 and opened her first restaurant there in 2003. It was an immediate success, and Chau now has 12 Delicious Pho locations across Canada.
The Spitalfields location is her first venture in the UK. The restaurant is just a few steps from Liverpool Street station, so very accessible. Both inside and out it is bright, fresh and very upbeat. The dining space is airy, the tables well-spaced, and the service team very welcoming. I was there on a Tube strike day, but despite that it was still busy.
For those who don’t know, Pho is the national dish of Vietnam. It is ubiquitous in restaurants across the country, and is a very popular street food. At the heart of the dish is a broth, at Delicious Pho they boil beef bones and other ingredients for 12 hours to create a rich, highly flavoured base. Noodles are added to this together with proteins of your choice, traditionally beef. If you want a bit more than just beef then there are add-ons like tofu, fish balls, chicken, and squid.
The menu offers a simple Pho with beef, chicken, or prawns, or two more complex options with different types of beef. This includes steak, flank, crunchy and fatty flank, brisket, tripe, and tendon. The final item attaches muscle to bone, and when slow cooked has a gelatinous texture.
There are also starters and other options without the broth. For example, curries, fried rice and stir fries.
My wife and I had a sharing starter, the Surf ‘n’ Turf. This was a combo of deep-fried prawns, salt and pepper squid, and beef summer rolls. The dish was mouth-wateringly presented, and with two dips, chilli and hoisin sauces. Our overall impression was of well flavoured, fresh quality food. The squid and prawns were crispy on the outside, and juicy on the inside. We also loved the flavour of the beef in the summer rolls.
My wife had one of the optional dishes, rice with pickled and fresh vegetables, deep fried spring roll, pork, meatballs, and prawns, all grilled. My choice was instant, the Pho Master, fully loaded with beef.
The rice dish was freshly cooked, the spring roll was crunchy, the meat had a very moreish marinade, and the prawns were succulent. These were all enhanced by the vegetables, making it well balanced.
My Pho was an enormous bowls of umami packed broth, soft rice noodles, topped with brisket, flank, tendon, and fatty and crunchy flank. There was lots of beefy goodness, and I really liked the yielding texture of the tendon. This was deeply satisfying comfort food.
The Pho came with a side of bean sprouts, fresh mint, and lemon. If you want to warm things up there was sliced chilli and a range of condiments on the table, including chilli oil, and sriracha sauce.
There were lots of drinks on offer, a wide range of teas, bubble teas, milk teas, soft drinks, healthy smoothies, and two types of beer. We chose the latter, the refreshing Saigon, a barley-based beer. The other option was Hanoi, made with rice.
The portions were huge, so we couldn’t manage a dessert, but they all looked very intriguing, like the Che Combo. This is a mix of red and white mung beans, taro, pandan jelly, boba, rainbow jellies and coconut milk.
I thoroughly enjoyed the entire eating experience at Delicious Pho, it’s bright, fresh, with great service and food.
Before leaving I spoke with manager Mark, who hinted at expansion plans, and showed me a brand-new dining space, complete with bar in the large basement.
Delicious Pho has been a great success in Canada, I am sure that will be repeated in the UK
3-6 Steward St.
London, E1 6FQ