Food | Pho – Vietnamese Street Food

Herbs on top of a pho

A hip and trendy restaurant serving Vietnamese street food, Pho is quite a feast for both, the eyes and the taste buds.

Situated on the first floor of Grand Central, Birmingham it impresses with friendly service and importance given to authentic flavours that stay true to Asia.

As per their website, the first Pho restaurant opened in 2003. Started by Stephen and Juliette Wall who came upon the idea while touring Vietnam, Pho is now 13 years old and has 27 branches spread across the UK. The restaurant remains a family run business.

Weirdly enough, it was during my late-summer halt in Birmingham this year that I came across the restaurant for the very first time.

The interiors are what intrigued me the most while exploring the food area of Grand Central, packed with a number of impressive eating places. There’s a subtle hipster vibe to the entire set up which has wooden tables, benches, and chairs with shawls/blankets. Reaching much before the super busy lunch-hour, I managed to get a seat overlooking the main platform of Grand Central which is an energetic and impressive view to have during a meal.

The Menu, filled with Asian classics, ranges from spring rolls and rice dishes to pho, noodles, buns, and a bunch of dessert items. The food is famously prepared fresh every day on site with the finest of ingredients adding to the taste and vibrant colour of each preparation.

Condiments at Pho

Warm pho in Birmingham

Being at Pho for the very first time, I thought it only fair to go with a pho – which is the “national dish of Vietnam” and brimming with the warmth of noodles, meat, and a delicious broth.

The Pho Bo Nam Trung came in a huge bowl with a plate of green herbs on top that could be added as desired, making the dish all the more refreshing. The brisket, noodles, and the egg yolk were just perfect, but I was a little sceptical about the button mushrooms wondering if they would dominate among the ingredients. That was not to be the case, and only a few floated around. However, to my pleasant surprise, a couple of bunches of enoki mushrooms did pop up when I dug in deep.

The flavours were incredible with each bite being distinct based on which ingredients found their way onto the big wooden spoon. The chilli, hitting the back of the mouth, was just about right and didn’t end up leaving the tongue burning in the end.

There were a few condiments on the table, but I didn’t feel the need to add anything. On top of it all, the herbs smelled heavenly, and the broth was divine. The only thing to keep in mind is to go all the way down to the bottom and mix up the bowl nicely before every few slurps.

Brisket and Mushrooms in a PhoChopsticks at Pho

Pho gets my thumbs up for a hearty meal that is definitely going to leave your stomach and your soul completely satisfied.

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