Here’s the first in a regular series of contributions from our friend Rob. At Rob’s work, they run a payday lunch club and they’re always keen to try new places. This month, they stayed local and tried the Pho Vietnam House, in Grove Street.
The Pho Vietnam House is a relative newcomer to the West End luncheon scene, nestling in a discreet wee niche at the Morrison Street end of Grove Street – not too far from Chop Chop. Named after the famous Viet noodle soup Pho (pronounced ‘Fuh’) the Vietnam House offers simple, fresh food at great prices. But be warned, the restaurant is compact, seating only 16 at a pinch. My eight friends and I occupied a lot of the space – and we’re not very big! Perhaps this venue would be more suited to an intimate supper rather than a group booking. We were nevertheless greeted with a smile from our hostess, who served us with efficiency and good humour throughout our meal.
We all started with delicious fried or fresh rolls, which came with a sweet and sticky satay-style sauce. The fresh rolls are constructed from wonderfully soft rice noodle and are delicately flavoured by spring onion, mint and sweet basil and come in vegetarian, prawn and pork versions. Care and attention is paid to their presentation, although some members of the group would have preferred not to share a plate.
The main event was the Pho noodle soup, which came in large steaming bowls of aromatic, crunchy vegetables, mushrooms and soft rice noodles. We selected vegetable and chicken versions of the dish and slurped them down with great relish. I found the mushrooms a little chewy, but this did not spoil my enjoyment greatly. Despite my diminutive size, I appreciated the generous portions.
The meal was finished off by Vietnamese coffee, which was anticipated by my friends with some excitement. It is made with sweet condensed milk and served with neat little metal filters on each cup. I am told it was highly enjoyable, but I prefer my coffee without that sort of adulteration!
Scores on the doors
Our averaged scores for Pho Vietnam House were:
Food – 4/5
Presentation – 4/5
Service – 4/5
Setting – 4/5
giving an overall 16/20
Today’s Lunch Questers were: Rob, Karen, Simon (team photographer), Angela, Mudenda, Ruth, Loren, Shona, Helen
We wore: informal office attire (Simon even removed his tie) except for Mudenda who was in a lovely pre-holiday celebration dress and a distinctive hair style.
We ate: fried rolls, fresh rolls, big bowls of pho, Viet’s chicken curry (for Mudenda)
We drank: fruit juices, jasmine tea, water, Vietnamese coffee
Total Bill: c.£85 (for nine of us!)
Pho Vietnam House
3 Grove Street
Edinburgh, EH3 8AF