Compared to the authentic looking Vietnamese restaurants surrounding it on Victoria Street, I Love Pho's name looks a little tacky. But when you are looking for a cheap feed, it doesn't always pay to judge on looks alone.
The standard rule of thumb if you are confronted with a strip of restaurants all offering similar food is to look at how busy each of the places are. Good restaurants will have their customers coming back for more, while bad restaurants will quickly become shunned. Using this 'back of the envelope test', I took it as a pretty good sign that I Love Pho was packed when its neighbours were struggling to be a quarter full.
Curiously, I Love Pho has decided to deconstruct their menu and put it on the walls and windows. While this is a little puzzling, what is worrying is that the wall menus don't actually tell you the prices ( I'm still not sure what cost what in yesterday's meal). Rest assured though that if you do decide to eat here, everything will be on the cheap side.
Two medium sized Pho's and a serving of rice paper rolls cost $26 – which is decent value for money. Being pathetically squeamish, gentrified 20 somethings we chose the least adventurous option and opted for two basic chicken Pho's – but if you are feeling game, go for something like brisket.
Put bluntly, the chicken broth wasn't hearty, and as presented the Pho tasted incomplete. We really needed to go for those sweet chilli and soy sauces to lift the flavour a few notches. With the chilli/soy additions though, nothing could stop us from downing our whole bowls.
While the rice paper rolls and satay sauce were a decent eat, I was disappointed with the prawn/pork-rice noodle ratio. Granted, the noodle filling was great for showcasing the satay sauce, but I felt like these rolls could be improved by adding a few decent vegetables into the mix.