Located at the place formerly occupied by Banana Leaf Restaurant, Pho S.A on Currie Street serves a good variety of Vietnamese cuisine, the most notable being the dish from which the restaurant gets its name. Most of their dishes can be ordered as a small or large serving size. For my family, the small serving portion was sufficient to satisfy our appetites.
(Photogaphed by Jonathan Phoon)
Pho is a Vietnamese beef noodle soup dish. It is a popular street food in Vietnam and is consumed at all times of the day. The quality of the broth is the key to this dish. It is prepared by simmering beef bones, charred onion, charred ginger and spices for many hours. The thinly sliced rare beef in the Pho Tai that we ordered were tender and the rice noodles were cooked to al dente, with the beef broth giving the dish its distinct taste. The dish came with fresh herbs and bean sprouts that you can mix into the soup to add texture and fragrance. We mixed the chilli and hoisin sauce at the table as the dipping sauce for the beef.
Pho Tai (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
For those that prefer a spicy soup, there is the choice of their Spicy Beef Vermicelli Soup. The name is a bit misleading as there were beef and pork slices in this dish. As with their Pho Tai the meat and vermicelli noodles were cooked just right with the spicy soup having an enjoyable level of heat.
Spicy Beef Soup (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
Most of their Chicken Broth Noodles can be ordered either dry or as a soup with your choice of egg or clear noodles. The egg noodles we chose for the dry version of the Combination Noodles were cooked to al dente with the sauce it was served with bringing out its flavour. The seafood was fresh and tender.
Dry Combination Noodles (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
We also tried the soup version of Combination Noodles but with clear noodles instead of egg noodles. The noodles were cooked just right with the seafood done as well as the one in the dry version of the dish. The slightly sweet flavour the chicken broth also helped to enhance the flavour of the ingredients.
Combination Noodles with Soup (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
For the popular Vietnamese Bun Bowls, we ordered their Stir Fried Beef Vermicelli Noodles - rice vermicelli salad topped with stir-fried slices of beef. The beef was cooked to perfection with just the right amount of flavour so it did not overpower the sweet and sour taste of the salad dressing. It also had a bit of crunch from the toppings of crushed peanuts.
Stir Fried Beef Vermicelli Noodles (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
Apart from noodle dishes, Pho S.A also offers a decent range of rice dishes accompanied with pickles, soup and cucumber slices. The Crispy Pork Chop Rice that I chose had a crisp pork chop with tender meat with just the right amount of flavour. It also came with a serving of sauce to add flavour to the pork.
Crispy Pork Chop Rice (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
Pho S.A's large serving of Crispy Pork Chop Rice had pork chop, roast pork, shredded pork, a fried egg as well as a poached egg. While my sister thought the crackling of the roast pork could have been a bit crispier, the meat was still tender with the shredded pork cooked to perfection. Just like the Crispy Pork Chop Rice, this meal also came with a dipping sauce.
Combination Rice (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
Ambience of the restaurant was very good with the tables spaced a good distance apart from each other. The restaurant is within walking distance from Rundle Mall, TAFE SA, University of South Australia and University of Adelaide and is open for lunch and dinner every day.