April 7, 2018: I had heard about this Vietnamese restaurant, The Pho Restaurant, both through my mom’s classmates and also via Instagram where foodies boasted that the food was authentic. I was very curious to try this place. The first time I tried to come here was on an Easter Monday and they were actually closed and I didn’t know they were closed until we arrived (at which point we also saw a few other cars of people leave in disappointment because they were there for the same reason too).
On a Saturday, my mom and I came here again and were successfully able to dine in. I knew that the restaurant would be packed and perhaps required a wait list so I got inside the restaurant early while my mom parked the car. I was right and indeed there was a line-up of people waiting already. I got a number from the server (#6 in line) and waited for a table.
I remember this unit was a former Vietnamese restaurant before too (called Yummy Pho) run by Chinese people and I remember not having very fond memories of it. The Pho Restaurant seems to be run by Vietnamese people (don’t quote me on that), so I was sure that the food would be much better (especially given all the praise about it).
We asked the server for a copy of the menu to browse through while we waited in line (so we could order right away once we did receive a table). The server had told me there was going to be about a 20-minute wait.
We ended up waiting around 30 minutes for a table and I was very hungry by the time we sat down. We placed our orders right away once we got our table.
I liked the interior of the restaurant. It was clean, bright, and spacious for the most part. The servers were also very prompt and efficient.
Unfortunately, it took a long time for our food to arrive. It seemed that the kitchen followed the orders that were placed consecutively. This meant that even though a few tables might have each ordered a serving of fried chicken wings, instead of frying all of the chicken wing orders together and distributing them to all of the tables that ordered it, the kitchen made every order separately.
I noticed this was the case because the table that was in front of us received all of their food in a row while we still had nothing (despite having a same common dish). Also, it was true that once all of their food arrived, we were then next to receive ours.
In total, we waited about another 20 minutes for our food to arrive on the table.
The Cari Gà/ Bò arrived first and was a bowl of Southern Vietnam yellow curry with a choice of chicken or beef (we chose chicken), and served with a choice of egg noodles, rice noodles, or steamed rice. We had the fresh rice noodles. This was a beautiful bowl where the yellow curry broth was very concentrated and tasty. The chicken was very good too and moist. The flavours were not watered down at all and tasted so fresh.
The Cánh Gà Chien Bơ (deep-fried chicken wings with butter sauce) was recommended by a couple of foodies, so I definitely wanted to try this out. When it arrived to the table, I wasn’t impressed with the presentation because it looked just like regular fried chicken wings scattered on a plate. However, upon tasting it, I could see why it was quite loved. It was slightly sweet from the butter and nicely fried. I can’t say it’s the best tasting chicken wings I’ve ever had and because the size of the wings were small.
We also ordered the Cơm tấm Cơm Sườn Chả ). I really liked the Vietnamese Meat Loaf as it was something unique that I’ve never had before (I looked it up on Google and it’s actually “Egg Meatloaf”). It had vermicelli embedded within the soft meat loaf. The lemongrass pork chop was fragrant with ample lemongrass flavour which was nice to see.
I don’t understand what’s so special about broken rice. It tastes similar to me as regular white rice but the grains are a bit smaller. Can anyone enlighten me?
I noticed that the line-up for a table continued for the others until we were done our lunch. They are indeed very popular and worth the hype. I do think The Pho Restaurant needs to work on their speed in delivering the food to their customers. I felt bad for the two-person party sitting next to our table who was kept waiting for their food. The male was so fed up that he threatened to cancel the order and leave the restaurant if the order still wouldn’t arrive within the next five minutes. Apparently he was late for a wedding. XD Their food did arrive in time that he and his companion finished their food but I commiserate with them about the long wait time from being seated to receiving the food.
Perhaps The Pho Restaurant should give menus to all customers standing in line (or at least the ones closest to receiving a table) so that, like us, their food orders could be placed immediately upon being seated. This would quicken up the ordering process and give the waiting customers something to do while in the line-up.
They have a lot of specialty pho noodle soups and rice dishes that I would definitely want to come back to try more. 😀
(On another note, I thought that I had typed up this blog post and already saved it after I dined at the restaurant. To my dismay, I either didn’t save it or didn’t write it — but is my memory that bad? — so this blog post is written two weeks after I went to the restaurant. I totally thought I had typed this blog post up so that the details were fresh in my mind. :/)
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June 11, 2018: Returned to The Pho Restaurant and this time the food arrived a lot faster!! When we got there at around 7:30 p.m., there was a queue as I anticipated but we only needed to wait about 10 minutes for a table (ideal arrival time since the first round of people there for dinner were leaving).
I was craving bun so I ordered that plus the chicken salad which seemed interesting. Warmer weather lately makes me want to eat fresh and organic flavours like the mint leaves and Vietnamese fish sauce things. My mom ordered a satay pho.
The Bun was okay. I didn’t like that the rice vermicelli was actually the thicker rice noodles instead. The ingredients were great. (I chose three toppings of the grilled lemongrass chicken, ground beef with betel leaves, and grilled pork skewer.)
The Goi Ga (chicken salad) was a big portion and so refreshing for a hot day. There was a lot of ingredients in it! :9 (It had poached chicken mixed with shredded cabbage, Vietnamese herbs, a Pho signature nuoc mam, and topped with in-house deep fried shallots.)
On this visit, we sat in a two-person table between other other parties (communal table). I didn’t like the close quarters since you can practically hear the conversations at both sides of the table. It made the introvert side of me uncomfortable and needing more ‘me time’ later to re-energize.