Coming into winter all the Pho kitchens of Melbourne will soon be having lines out the door.
But it's not always just about the Pho, although a big factor. It's the little extras you can enjoy on the side. The spring rolls, rice paper rolls and the Banh Mi's.
Recently I was invited down to enjoy dinner with a group of fellow Pho lovers at Pho 24, located on the corner of Little Bourke and Spencer Street, of which I was blown away with their Pho-nominal (pardon the pun) menu.
Starting our evening with delicate rice paper rolls filled with Barramundi, Prawn or Chicken, and choosing between the traditional Hoisin sauce as the accompaniment or changing the pace with beautiful homemade chilli oil or my favourite satay chilli oil.
For those who love a kick of chilli and the acidic lemon dive into the Octopus salad. Not only does it make your tastebuds dance but it sure will bring that smile on your face. Jam packed with freshness, and the dressing truly holds impeccable flavouring that you can't bring yourself to stop.
I am a Banh Mi lover and I have to say, diving into the pork Banh Mi I was taken away to my happy place. Succulent pork coated in a soft paprika sauce combined with fresh vegetables, chilli and coriander and a sensational house made pate, you will end up one happy person.
A crusty baguette soaks up all the sauce and pate and encases the chilli. It was that gorgeous I had to rush one home to the Husband for him to devour. I had to share my joy.
Now for the extravagant Pho. If you want something that is going to be made for you in record breaking time, go for the Pho. A choice of Beef, Pork, Chicken, Vegetarian or Barramundi are on offer. A regular size is huge and the large eye popping.
I did choose the pork which was in a clear and silky like broth that allowed the vegetables to hold their own flavours which is perfect. You don't want everything to taste the same in a Pho. Wedges of lemon or lime adds the citric flavours to allow you level out the Pho to match the palate. Adding chilli, fish sauce for saltiness and the best part, pick your herbs to add.
Along the wall and on the tables fresh pots of herbs are their for your choosing. Snip off some basil and mint and your Pho will become the best Pho, matching to your taste like ever before.
If you want to try something away from the norm, I have to say go for the Barramundi. A bowl of incredible smoked broth and amazing succulent Barramundi pieces blew my mind. It has got to be one of the best Pho's I have ever tasted. My eyes lit up with enjoyment and have not stopped thinking about it since. Not saying that my Pork Pho was terrible, but wow.
What I love about Pho 24 is that every dish in itself it eye catching. Bold luscious fresh Vietnamese ingredients stare boldly at you as you eat. It makes you feel uplifted and brings a vibrancy to you while you eat.
I got to enjoy hearing about the owners adventures and backgrounds which has developed Pho 24 what it is today. Taking traditional Vietnamese dishes and flavours and incorporating French techniques into their cooking has really shone through.
Being right across from Southern Cross station Pho 24 is non stop in service and ensure that it is fast and efficient, understanding their clientele and the amount of suits that venture out for a quick lunch break. And hey, its ok..... They don't judge the slurping here wither.
Wine on tap by D.O.C wines ensure to be a perfect match to your Pho or Vietnamese delights too, so you can make for a casual meeting or night out before the Footy.
It's worth venturing there for a nourishing, bold flavoured evening or lunch. I know I'll be going back shortly.
656 Little Bourke Street