15th February 2016
471 High Street
Preston, VIC 3072
It’s been a while. Although I love pho more than I love most people, the Australian summer isn’t exactly a time of year when I crave a steaming bowl of noodles. But thankfully the weather in Melbourne is as unreliable as ever, and a 20 degree day seemed like the perfect opportunity to fill the pho-void in my life.
I’ll admit; I only ended up at Pho Huong Viet because the more popular Pho Hung down the road is closed for the holidays. I had worked myself up during the day with the promise of noodle soup, and it was a very long day. Still, Pho Huong Viet certainly doesn’t seem to be a second choice for the people dining there – just look at the way that bloke was drinking his soup!
My usual of Pho Special Beef ($9, small) was a precariously full bowl of broth, hiding a tight tangle of slippery noodles and beefy goodies. The soup was much too umami for me to pretend that there’s no MSG, but it was rich and flavoursome, especially with a squirt of sriracha. Likewise, the meat is grislier than what I have come to expect, but I found it hard to mind when I’m slurping mouthfuls of crisp sprouts and silky noodles, interspersed with sips of aromatic beef soup.
The menu at Pho Huong Viet is impressively large; aside from pho, there are a myriad of other noodle and rice dishes, as well as stir-fries, hotpots, and even a page of desserts. Chris however felt like a simpler Egg Noodle and Wonton with BBQ Pork ($10.5). I was pretty fixated on my pho, but I did notice that the wontons were surprisingly good, with a peppery, meaty filling of pork. The soup was also an unexpected treat – a light, sweet vegetable broth that nourished and rejuvenated with its wholesomeness.
Sometimes it gets a bit hard to review pho places, as most of them really just sit within the same range of ‘good’ and ‘better’. What really stuck out to me about Pho Huong Viet though wasn’t the food, but the service. All diners were greeted with a smile, and interactions aren’t just limited to barking ‘what do you want’; instead they actually make the effort to exchange pleasantries and to enquire about your meal. Yes I am fully aware that restaurants should be doing this anyway, but it’s just not a combination I’ve had with pho before.
Rating: 13/20 – aww yiss.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.