I have been waiting for a while in hope that Vietnamese food is about to be the next big thing.
Every town, however small, would have a takeaway, and one could devour delicious noodle salads, bowls of pho and fresh summer rolls with ease. The food is often healthy, always delicious and there are enough crispy things available for treats.
There are the odd restaurants here and there, plus a cluster around Kingsland Road in London, but they are sadly far too rare.
When we decided to visit Bournemouth for a few days, I did my usual food research and was therefore thrilled to come across a restaurant called Pho Viet (976 Wimborne Road). I visited the website and drooled over the menu, sent the link onto H who was likewise afflicted, and he booked us a table.
The decor was simple, but the place was moderately busy and this was on a Monday night. The staff were amazingly friendly and concerned for your well-being, and just generally lovely.
H had some wine while I had a fresh limeade which was unbelievably sweet. I thought I had a high sugar tolerance after endless manao sodas in Thailand, but this was a step up!
We started off with a portion of spring rolls and of summer rolls.
The spring rolls were super crispy and crammed with pork, prawn and noodles, accompanied by a sharp, sweet dipping sauce. The summer rolls were the epitome of scrumptious healthy food, and the fresh flavours of prawn, noodles, raw vegetables and herbs were perfect accompanied by the clean heat of the sauce.
For my main I had something I had never tried before – bánh xèo. These were delicious crispy pancakes crammed with beansprouts, pork, prawns and other goodies, and served with another dipping sauce (I think the ubiquitous nuoc cham with sugar, chilli, garlic, vinegar and fish sauce) that I periodically sloshed over my plate. I love fried things and these were excellent, with a similar filling to the spring rolls, and a tasty rice flour pancake wrapper. I am keen to try making them at home some time, so will be searching for a good recipe, and will let you know how it goes.
H had the bún bò huế pictured at the top of the post. It is a beef and pork noodle soup, and he topped it up with extra chilli sauce for a greater kick. Judging by the happy slurping, it was a good choice, and the little sip I tried was very fragrant and flavourful.
I would strong recommend visiting here if you’re in the area. This is exactly the kind of place I want to see springing up around the UK, so please make sure this one survives!