Funky, flavour­some & fill­ing

Andy Cooper tries a taste of the Ori­ent as he heads for a novel ad­di­tion to the Devon din­ing scene

Devon Life - - Kitchenalia -

It’s long been my mantra that suc­cess­ful din­ing out is a three-legged stool…un­less the food, the at­mos­phere and the ser­vice are all spot on then prob­lems tend to arise. That one miss­ing el­e­ment can make ev­ery­thing go a bit, well…wob­bly.

So, ladies and gen­tle­men, let me in­tro­duce you to Devon’s new­est’ wob­ble-free’ zone – Pho in Ex­eter. Be­cause on our two vis­its of late the com­bi­na­tion of 1) fan­tas­tic food and flavours, 2) en­thu­si­as­tic and knowl­edge­able ser­vice and 3) a buzzing, lively at­mos­phere made this a wel­come ad­di­tion to the scene in Queen Street Din­ing.

For any­one who hasn’t tried Viet­namese food then Pho is pretty much the per­fect in­tro­duc­tion.

On our first visit for a quick lunchtime bite we tucked into Nem nuong (pork and le­mon­grass meat­balls with let­tuce and herbs to wrap and dip in a choice of two sauces) plus Muc chien gion (ten­der fried baby squid with a salt, pep­per and lime dip). Wow…our taste­buds were pop­ping al­ready.

Soon our big bowls were ar­riv­ing and I ea­gerly tucked into a de­li­cious house spe­cial noo­dle soup with king prawns, chicken and flash fried steak with gar­lic in a beef broth. A meal in it­self!

My part­ner loved her bro­ken rice dish – a rich, fra­grant curry with veg­gies and mush­rooms, topped with nuts and bro­ken rice. Lip-smack­ingly good.

As I said, this was a lunchtime visit and so a re­turn to Pho in the evening seemed a good idea. Lunchtime was fun but the dark in­te­rior also means it feels like Pho comes into its own at night and so we were able to re­lax for a lit­tle longer and re­ally take on board the team’s sug­ges­tions.

I started with savoury Viet­namese crispy creme with rice pa­pers and herbs, with chicken and prawn added…a kind of DIY spring roll con­coc­tion which was flavour­some and fun to put to­gether.

For mains we opted for aro­matic, spicy wok-fried bro­ken rice with chicken and dried shrimp and I then strug­gled to grab any of the king prawn curry be­ing de­voured across the ta­ble. Fin­der’s keep­ers seemed to be the rule on this one!

Be­ing a man with a sweet tooth it wasn’t hard to opt for the freshly cooked pan­dan waf­fle served with ice cream, plus a Viet­namese cof­fee with con­densed milk. A vis­ual feast with its dis­tinc­tive green colour, it also de­liv­ered on the taste front.

Pho is funky, flavour­some and fill­ing…find out for your­self what a great place to eat it is.

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