Just a stride away from the Duke Street bus stop, Pho reading is the perfect retreat for anyone looking for a mid-week catch up or end of exams celebration with a twist.
Pho prides itself in serving up tasty Vietnamese food which is traditional and creative in style.
It has only been serving customers for 15 years, but is still the same family-run business which prepares its food fresh on a daily basis.
My recent trip to Pho was my first, but definitely won’t be my last visit. And to make things even better, the restaurant offers a 15% discount for students; what better excuse to go!
My first impression of Pho assumed it to be similar to Wagamamas. However, after tasting just the first course, I sensed a unique element which distinguished the eatery from its Japanese high street competitor.
Pho’s drinks menu offers an exotic range of freshly blended juices, fiery cocktails, and Vietnamese coffees. My selections included the apple, mint and lime juice, and Hanoi Mule cocktail consisting of Ha Noi Vodka, fresh apple, ginger, mint and lime- both of which were as refreshing as each other.
Starters included choices from veg-packed spring rolls, flavoured fish, and homemade meat dishes. I went for the Nem Nuong (pork and lemongrass meatball dish served with lettuce and a sweet chilli dip) whilst my dinner date chose the Banh Xeo savoury crispy crepe with chicken and prawns.
Unlike most restaurants, the eating experience is somewhat practical at Pho. It involves not only eating with chopsticks, but using the flavours provided by the waiters to personalise the meals.
Pho’s mains also feature a huge variety of cultural tastes such as traditional noodle and broth-styled dishes (Pho), fragrant broken rice bowls, and wok-fried noodles. And if you’re looking to add even more flavour to your meal, I highly recommend sides such as the delicious Rau Muong Xao (stir fried spinach in garlic).
For my main I decided to go for the Pho Bo Combo (steak, brisket and meatballs in broth). It provided a brand new taste which gave me a true sense of Vietnamese culture- the broth was extremely flavoursome and sides such as herbs, chillis, and lime gave me the option to tailor the dish to my liking.
And the final course certainly didn’t disappoint either. Choices included banana fritter drizzled in coconut or honey and ginger, fresh fruit sorbets, pandan waffles, and tropical flavoured ice creams.
My dessert was the Banh So-Co-La Truffle (chocolate truffle slab served with green tea ice cream). I chose this as I’m a huge fan of green tea so was intrigued to see what the taste was like-it was the most delicious replica of the herbal drink!
Not only are the team at Pho Reading extremely friendly and professional, but they’re welcoming to anyone looking to give the food of Vietnam a try. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never used chop sticks before, or have no idea what dishes you’ll enjoy- the waiters will guide you through the menu and help you with your choices from starter to pudding.
And if exam celebrations are a long way off for you but you still want to give Pho a try, the team also offer their food delivery service (Pho on the Go) which is available on Deliveroo. For more information, head to https://www.phocafe.co.uk/pho-to-go/.