Funky, flavoursome & filling
Andy Cooper tries a taste of the Orient as he heads for a novel addition to the Devon dining scene
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.