Pho Vietnam House - Restaurant review
- David Pollock
- 1 February 2011
Vietnamese cuisine represented well in west-end of Edinburgh
Vietnamese cuisine is hallowed by returning backpackers and adventurous tourists, but it’s poorly represented locally compared to other Far Eastern cuisines. David Pollock found a tiny outpost in western Edinburgh
Pho Vietnam House Restaurant
3 Grove Street
Edinburgh EH3 8AF
0131 228 3383
It wasn’t that long ago that Thai food was the bright new kid on the Far Eastern block. Now Edinburgh (in particular) and Glasgow have plenty of Thai eating spots, along with a slew of sushi bars, and it’s possible to find Indonesian, Malaysian, Korean and even Filipino restaurants in the Central Belt. Now the capital has its own Vietnamese restaurant. Not only that, but a very good one too.
However, you should book ahead if you want to try the place out. Operating out of a small shopfront just off Morrison Street, Pho Vietnam House is tiny, with just five tables crammed in to the limited space. That this isn’t a problem is largely down to owner Jodie Nguyen. Having learned to cook in her parents’ restaurant in Vietnam, she prepares the food (before handing over to a chef to cook it, as you’ll see if you have to walk through the spotless kitchen to reach the bathroom) and also acts as friendly and laid-back waitress and hostess.
Recognising that the place isn’t best geared towards extensive production, and in order to keep prep time down, Nguyen has created a modest menu of meal-sized Vietnamese street foods. Despite this, and a focus on using fresh ingredients, there’s still plenty to choose from (for vegetarians too). The restaurant is named after Vietnam’s national dish (pho, pronounced ‘fuh’), which is a simple broth of noodles, spring onions and meat or tofu, here served in a rich and well-seasoned stock.
Attention-grabbing spring rolls are served fried or fresh (in other words, uncooked). Thick, perfectly wrapped cylinders of wonton-style pastry containing finely chopped shrimp and vermicelli noodles come with a chunky peanut sauce. Also recommended is the com ka kho, an earthenware pot of braised fish in ginger and capsicum, and thit theo kho, braised pork in a pepper and caramel sauce. Their Vietnamese coffee – a very strong filter cup made with condensed milk – offers an appealing finale. Like this charming restaurant, it’s small and sweet, and you’ll want to tell your friends all about it.
+ Quality and service that deserves to be a hit
- Once known, it will surely outgrow the space