Just two short weeks after returning home from visiting Vietnam, I was lucky to receive an invite to try a meal at Pho Restaurant in Liverpool, Bold Street. Bold Street is a street to visit if you are looking for a wide variety of flavours from all over the world. It has new food places all the time and is fantastic if you are looking to have a day away from the kitchen. It is right next to Liverpool Central train station, making it extremely easy to get to.
If you don’t know, Pho (pronounced ‘fuh’, imagine you are saying the beginning of the F-word!) is a national Vietnamese dish. They will literally eat Pho for breakfast, lunch and dinner! We saw and tasted a lot of this while in Vietnam, so I was excited to see how a restaurant in Liverpool compared. Food in Vietnam have very distinct flavours and are very fresh on the palette. Pho is a delicious rice noodle soup dish, served with a side of fresh herbs to add as you please.
To start with we picked some drinks. I went for a Rose Apple Bellini: Prosecco with a splash of Táo Mèo (rose apple) and Mark went for a Bia Saigon: Vietnamese beer. We were also given a plate of prawn crackers with sweet chilli dipping sauce to munch on while we perused the menu, deciding what to order. The prawn crackers were great, they were ‘light & airy’ and not greasy at all, the dipping sauce was delicious and plenty of it.
For starters, I went for the Cánh gà – seasoned, crispy chicken wings served with Sriracha. Now if you haven’t tried Sriracha sauce before, I suggest trying a tiny amount first as it is HOT! We had come across this A LOT in Vietnam, so were very prepared for it! There was plenty of sweet chilli sauce left over, so I ended up using that for the chicken. I’m sure you could ask for sweet chilli sauce if you wanted it, as everyone who works there is super friendly.
The wings were super crispy and super tasty, I am a big fan of chicken wings, I could literally eat a bucket full! The portion size was very generous. I think there were about 9 wings! Yay, I was happy. The wings were cooked perfectly and came off the bone easily. I would definitely go back just to get these again.
Mark chose the Chả giò – crispy pork spring rolls served with lettuce and herbs to wrap and nước chấm dip. The dip is made of lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, water, garlic and chilli. This is very common in Vietnam and they use it a lot. They use fish sauce with pretty much everything! You have a choice of dips, you can either have this one or a peanut sauce. I would highly recommend the nước chấm as it really compliments the spring rolls.
To eat the spring rolls in the correct Vietnamese way, you take some lettuce and wrap it around the spring roll, add a bit of the mint and then dip it into the sauce. Wrapping the lettuce around it and adding the mint really does make a massive difference. It gives that fresh taste that is so common for food in Vietnam.
I did forfeit a chicken wing to swap for a piece of spring roll, I mean I couldn’t do a proper review without tasting Mark’s food as well as my own could I?!
It was then time for the mains! We couldn’t come to a Pho restaurant and not try the Pho now, could we! So I opted for the Phở gà, which is chicken breast in chicken stock with rice noodles. This also gets served with a tray of fresh herbs and bean sprouts for you to add as you wish. This is great as you can really personalise your Pho and make it taste how you want. There are also sauces on the table for you to use, so you can add in the fish sauce if you want it a bit saltier, or chilli & garlic paste if you want to add a bit of spice. On the tray of herbs, there is also chopped chilli, I would recommend using this sparingly as a tiny amount really does pack a punch!
You mix it all up and then grab the chopsticks and get stuck in. There were so many noodles in my bowl, some were getting stuck together at times, making it a little hard to eat. You can tell the noodles aren’t as ‘fresh’ as the ones in Vietnam, but they are literally made and eaten the same day. This doesn’t affect the dish though at all. You then grab the ladle and use that to slurp up the tasty soup. It is such a healthy dish so you can have a cheeky lunch out and you won’t feel guilty about it!
Mark opted for the Bún riêu, a Hanoi classic; vermicelli noodles in a rich tomato & crab broth with wafer thin steak & tofu, topped with fried shallots. This dish comes with its own type of herb plate, this is because there are different herbs that compliment this dish. It looked a lot more filling than my dish, but it did look very tasty.
This then meant it was now time for dessert. We were a bit stuffed by this point, but I couldn’t pass up trying out the desserts, how would I say if they are any good or not! I went for Kem sorbet, this is simple and I chose Mango flavour. This tasted super fresh and had a super tangy Mango flavour, it was delicious!
Mark chose the Bánh sô-cô-la truffle, a chocolate truffle slab served with green tea ice cream. I just couldn’t face anything too rich for my dessert, but this did look fabulous! The green tea ice cream was definitely a good touch and added the fresh flavour to the dessert.
This should have been the end, but no… wait! The coffee in Vietnam is really good, they drink it ridiculously strong but you do get used it. We saw that there was coffee on the menu and there was also iced coffee, with or without condensed milk – Cà phê sữa đá. So naturally, we just had to try it to see how it compared. Well, this really does taste the same as the coffee we had while in Vietnam. Pho restaurant imports their coffee from Vietnam to ensure you are getting a true experience. Yum!
We had well and truly had our fill now, we were fit to burst! Would I come to a Pho restaurant again? YES, I 100% will be returning! I had a fantastic meal and thoroughly enjoyed it, all the staff were really friendly and it just felt a really relaxed place to enjoy a meal.
Have you ever been to a Pho restaurant or tried Pho? I’d love to hear what you think and if you like it.
Have you checked out the trip I planned for travelling around Vietnam for two weeks? Go here.
*The food & drink featured in this post were complimentary. See my disclaimer policy here.