A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Published December 7th 2017
Pho goodness sake, check out this restaurant
One of the best things about pho (pronounced 'fur') is all the puns you can create with it. Pho real! But another good thing about it is that authentic pho is shortly going to be available to Melbournians 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or, if you prefer, 'Twenty Pho Seven'.
From Thursday 14th December, the team responsible for Hochi Mama - long time friends Midawell Phal, Thai Ho and George Do will be offering quality, authentic pho, as well as popular Vietnamese entrees such as rice paper rolls, spring rolls and banh mi at their new restaurant, Twenty Pho Seven.
While the focus is on the pho, Twenty Pho Seven does some other dishes, including spring rolls
The focus, though, is on the pho. Based on a 'secret recipe' that has been handed down from generation to generation, the team is promising "the best pho in Melbourne".
I got to attend a sneak preview at Twenty Pho Seven earlier this week. Prominent in the venue is the large, well-stocked bar. The decor features neon signs and graffiti artwork, giving it a slick, modern feel. There are a decent number of tables in the venue, as well as stools around the bar, so you'd be unlucky to miss out on a spot if you needed a late night pho fix.
We first tried the spring rolls - tasty and perfectly cooked, with a flavoursome dipping sauce that put them in a class of their own - and some prawn rice paper rolls, which were also delicious and textural.
The fabulous pho. Dive in!
But what of the hero dish - the pho? There was only one way to tackle the generous, steaming bowl of broth and rice noodles placed in front of me, and that was without thinking too much about the ingredients. There were various unidentifiable elements - 'tripe', my partner Dave confidently asserted, in relation to one, but some others, hmmm, I'm still not sure. But surely that's the part of the fun and attraction of pho? Certainly, if I closed my eyes, I could easily imagine I was in a back alley soup bar somewhere in Vietnam. The pho was complex and delicious, and - somehow - nourishing. Definitely a meal in itself.
A word of warning though about the chilli. I'm not much of a chilli-phile, but Dave is; despite this, he 'nearly died' when he ate a piece of the chilli that was separately available to add to the pho. I wanted to spice my pho up just a bit, so I added one slice of chilli, and stirred it in - and could taste the difference. So, be warned, prudence is the key here!
As well as the pho, Twenty Pho Seven boasts specialty Asian themed cocktails. Some are based on bubble tea, a green tea-based drink mixed with fruit (or fruit syrup) and top-shelf spirits, incorporating alcohol infused sago pearls. The pearls 'pop' in your mouth, and it's a flavour and sensation experience - well worth a try.
Twenty Pho Seven is licensed and serves cocktails, including elegant Asian inspired ones like this.