I became (somewhat) addicted to Pho a couple of years back when I discovered their tiny little takeaway cubicle on Upper Street.
Their noodles with chicken or beef strips in a flavoursome broth, doused with flame-hot chilli sauce, was the perfect pick-me-up between ‘cafe office hours’ and the school run.
But actually my love affair with Vietnamese pho (noodle soup) began way back in the late ‘90s, when I lived in Paris for a couple of months.
My French friend Dominique introduced me to this little restaurant in China Town that served up giant bowls of noodles crammed with different meats and spices. Heaven.
What I love about noodle soups is how comforting and filling they are, and how they fire you up in winter but are strangely refreshing come warmer times. Plus noodles are a no-brainer for dining with kids (what child doesn’t like slurping and sucking them up?)
The restaurant branch of Pho (closer to Angel) is very welcoming to little ones, with friendly staff and a relaxed vibe. The decor is subtly cool and there’s smooth and funky house/soul playing in the background.
The children’s menu offers wok fried noodles and rice but the boys are like their mama and always go for soup. The Mini Pho Noodle Soup (chicken or beef) is £3.95 which I think is very reasonable and it’s a good-sized serving. Half the fun for the kids is eating with the child-friendly chopsticks.
The Pho menu is extensive with a variety of rice and noodle dishes, Vietnamese rolls and buns, but I can’t get enough of the soup. To be frank, it’s the only meal I’ve ordered – typically the Pho Tai Lan (flash fried steak with garlic Hanoi style).
It’s served with a big wooden ladle, and a side dish of fresh herbs, bean sprout and chilli that you can add to your own taste.
For drinks, there are some delicious juices on offer but I like the jasmine tea with the flower unfurling inside. Talk about a classy cuppa!
Pho is at 39 Upper St, N1 0PN (Angel tube) and 8 other restaurants around London