Who would have thought I would stumble upon what seemed to be the biggest bowl of Vietnamese beef pho in the city during a stroll in Emporium Melbourne? The Café Court in the newest shopping palace in Melbourne is already packed with gourmet goodies from popular Sydney eateries like Charlie & Co. Burgers and New Shanghai and local favourites like Earl Canteen, Jimmy Grants and Chinta Ria Soul. Now it is also home to I Love Pho Express.
A branch of already popular I Love Pho 264 in Richmond's Victoria Street, I Love Pho Express is committed to bring the same cheap and delicious Vietnamese street food to workers, students and families in the city. The kind of good food that customers will want to return to week after week.
I ordered the Special Beef Combo ($10) for the taste test. It didn't take long for the kitchen to plate up and deliver the steamy hot order to me, complete with a generous portion of fresh basil and bean sprouts.
Unlike other beef pho portions, the medium-size version was a lot to look at, filled to the brim with soup, noodles and beef parts. As I tucked in, I counted some 4 slices of beef brisket, 4 beef slices, 3 pieces of tendon, 3 silvers of tripe and 4 beef ball halves. That's 18 pieces of meat in a bowl of noodles.
Forget about the MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) laden pho at Pho Bo Ga Mekong. I Love Pho Express delivered a light beef broth that reminded me fondly of the tasty Beef Pho from Tra Vinh in Perth's Northbridge and Pho TK in Sydney.
The ingredients were braised to tasty tenderness. The juicy beefy brisket slices pulled apart easily; the tendon and tripe were soft chewy like gummy bears; and the beef slices were still pink and not overcooked to toughness. The noodles were bouncy and unbroken. I Love Pho Express certainly delivered a delightful Vietnamese streetside meal in Emporium Melbourne.
The Special Beef Combo is jam packed with value that makes a filling lunch for the working folks and an excellent share for parents and kids. The soup is light. The noodles don't break. There's lots of tasty beef parts. It is the biggest $10 bowl of tasty Vietnamese pho I've found in the CBD for now. With so much to enjoy in a bowl for just $10, how not to love pho in the city?