Pho & Bun Review
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Top 10 things you need to know about Pho & Bun:
1) If you're looking for fast Vietnamese street food in casual surroundings, then look no further than Pho & Bun on forever-buzzing Shaftesbury Avenue. However, think again if you’re contemplating waltzing up at 7pm to find a free table available. Reservations are highly recommended at this popular restaurant on the border between Chinatown and Soho. By dinner time, this small slice of Vietnam is alive with talkative tables celebrating the end of the working day, or getting some pre-theatre feed in before the show starts at the nearby Apollo, Gielgud, Queen’s and Palace theatres, or the Picturehouse, Curzon and Prince Charles cinemas.
2) Space is at a premium and tables are so close that you can find yourself rubbing shoulders with your neighbours. But if you're lucky, you might be able to nab a table in the cosier basement dining area.
3) You've got to hand it to Vietnam for coming up with an array of vibrant and bold dishes. Take our word for it, it’s best to ask for recommendations if you can't make up your mind. Brownie points to anyone who is able to pronounce each dish's name in a perfect Vietnamese accent.
4) Go traditional (and healthy) with the Goi Cuon Tôm. To you and me that’s traditional Vietnamese summer rolls with tiger prawns. Four beautifully presented rolls impossibly rammed with fresh herbs, satisfyingly crunchy veggies, silky glass noodles, and fresh tiger prawns. Smother liberally with the accompanying peanut sauce for an explosion of flavours; delish.
5) Pho is as quintessentially Vietnamese as fish and chips is in London. For those with a garlicky persuasion, Bò Tái Lan is your ticket to food heaven (and coma). The semi-wide rice noodles are as sumptuous as velvet. The wok-fried tender strips of beef are flavourful (with garlic) but not so overpowering. All this swims in a 24-hour cooked broth so rich, it might as well be a dish in its own right. Pimp it up with even more herbs; crunchy veg provided. And good luck on finishing it - these enormous bowls of pho can defeat even the hungriest of Londoners (not us, though).
6) I was told the pho here is the best in London (their words not ours). After slurping every last drop of that fragrant broth, we'd say it's right up there, for now.
7) They say everyone has a second stomach for desserts. Don't let your curiosity get the better of you by ordering the deep-fried bao bun with salted duck egg custard. Unique, yes, but it won't satisfy the sweetest of tooth. Buns are, well, just deep-fried and the saltiness of the egg custard won't be for everyone.
8) While you battle the imminent food coma, appreciate the decor at Pho & Bun. The low tables, fake graffiti, Vietnamese flag, brick-and-mortar exposed walls and tiki-themed bar bring it an appealing ambience; a small enclave of Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City in London.
9) It's not just the food that impressed. The staff are stars too. Helpful with recommendations and well-up for a good chat if you're willing to engage. Honestly, a good bunch of people.
10) What makes a good restaurant? Well, all you really need is delicious food delivered speedily, good company, and a relaxed, casual setting. You'll get it here at Pho & Bun - what more can you ask for? Maybe a happy hour? Sure, 20% off your total bill from 3-5pm and 9pm onwards. A great choice when you’re planning where to meet your pals in Soho for dinner....read more
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- Cuisine Type: Vietnamese
- Group: (Independent/Freehouse)
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