Chinese and East Asian
86 St John Street, Clerkenwell, EC1M 4EH
When we visited the Soho branch of Pho just off Oxford Street, we found a fabulously airy and striking restaurant, known for its laid-back lunchtime vibe and after-work crowd. Pho in Soho is expertly managed by Bart, who is clearly passionate about the menu - which revolves around simple yet superbly executed Vietnamese street foods. We couldn't wait to sample the Asian fare, but Bart insisted we try the refreshing Vietnamese beers first. The sweet and mild Beer Lao comes highly recommended. Soon enough we were eating fresh, authentic food, beginning with cha gio pork spring rolls, prawn summer rolls and moist pork and lemongrass meatballs. The accompanying dips were so moreish we felt obliged to order prawn crackers so as not to waste any. We loved the traditional Vietnamese specialities, lovingly made from scratch in-house by talented chefs. I had the pho tai lan with intense and garlicky beef stock (one of the four or more different types made daily), fresh noodles and an intriguing plate of herbs - simply add the herbs to season and customise your dish. Our meal would not have been complete without the mouth-watering banana fritters with coconut ice cream, partnered by signature plum and passion fruit rice wines - only available in the UK at Pho. I simply had to try the exclusive Weasel coffee - a must for real gourmets. Also offering a 'secret DJ' service, whereby diners can preview the Pho playlist and select a special song to suit their mood, Pho is a real find.