27 Greenfield Parade
Bankstown, NSW 2200
When was the last time I had a really good bowl of pho? Because unlike Melbourne, where good pho is spread pho and wide (HEE HEE), The good stuff in Sydney seems largely confined to the outer west (please correct me if I’m wrong – I would actually really like to be wrong in this case). Combine that with the fact that the ramen scene is THE BOMB in Sydney, and before you know it, it’s been the best part of a year since my last good pho. Still, the pho craving can only be kept down for so long, and one evening after exams, I found myself at An Restaurant.
Lists for ‘best pho in Sydney’ are extensive, but An restaurant can be found on every one of these, and more often than not at the top. I’m by myself tonight but that’s not a problem, as there’s no need to worry about menu coverage – all they serve here is beef and chicken pho, and purists will refuse to even acknowledge the latter. And although this place is practically glam for a pho joint, don’t be fooled – it is so legit that their menu is in Chinese and Vietnamese only, so best to bring a friend if you can’t read either, and don’t already have a go-to order.
An Restaurant seats a whopping 200 people, and as a result, they’re slinging so many bowls of noodles that my Combination Beef Pho ($15.5, medium) comes out within 2 minutes of ordering. Before I dump in my customary half cup of sriracha, I try the soup. It was phenomenal. Each sip was saturated with the aroma of beef bones and spices, and just a hint of sweetness. The warmth of the roasted ginger and onion gave the soup a substantial body and a lingering richness. It was all very umami, but not in the way that would make you suspect MSG. It almost seemed wrong to add chilli sauce to it.
The price here may be steep, but they make up for it with the big bowl full of noodles, and at least twice as much topping as most other places I’ve been to. The quality is also noticeable. The rare sliced beef is fresh and lean, the tripe pleasantly springy, and the chunks of tendon sticky and gelatinous. The quality of the brisket is especially evident; it is tender, flavoursome, and definitely good enough to stand on its own.
Although I initially balked at the prices of An Restaurant, and was sure it couldn’t be worth it, one bowl of noodles changed my mind completely. The quality and quantity were both there in spades, and it is without a doubt one of the best pho I’ve ever had. Funnily enough I also quite liked the atmosphere, which is unusual for a pho restaurant. If I kept my head down and concentrate on the pho, letting the bustle of hundreds of happy diners and their chatter in Vietnamese wash over me, I could almost pretend that I’m in a popular family-run restaurant in Vietnam.
Rating: 14/20 – so pho so good (their slogan not mine)
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.