On a blustery day like today, I crave a big hearty bowl of comfort soup. If chicken soup is for the soul, then Vietnamese pho is for that feel good factor.
And one of my favourite pho of the moment comes from Pho House, in Highbury & Islington, just striding distance from the station.
It’s a stroke of luck that the restaurant is based between the station and the bus stop, where we get off after Ezra’s weekend football training. After a couple of hours on ‘soccer mom’ duty, I can justify treating myself (and the minis) to lunch at this tasty spot.
Pho House has an inviting, urban-chic look with wood panelling and furniture, red brick walls, and a super cool mural (by street artist silent hobo). There’s good walkway room between tables for pushing strollers, plus clean, single use toilets.
I’d love to tell you all about the different items on the menu, but typically I stick with the Pho Bo Tai (rare beef) or Pho Bo (rib eye, beef brisket, meatballs, flat noodles) in a delicious broth. It comes with sides of beansprouts, coriander, mint, Thai basil, fresh chilli and lime for garnish. Splash on some Sricha sauce for extra kick, and I’m good to go.
The babes love pho too although, unlike at Pho (find it closer to Angel), they don’t offer kids’ portions. Ezra and Jed will happily share an adult bowl, but this only works out if they’re both in the mood for soup. Normally one or both kids ask for egg fried rice, without the ‘crispy oniony bits’ on top. Service here is friendly, accommodating and relatively speedy, even when it’s fairly busy.
When I’m not doing pho, another top pick is their ultra yummy Bun Xa, traditional Vietnamese noodle salad, with lemongrass marinated beef, garlic and chilli over rice vermicelli noodles. So fresh, so clean.
‘That’s not a bun!’ Jed observed, and I had to explain the difference between Vietnamese Bun and Chinese buns… or any other type of bun for that matter!
If it’s your first time sampling Vietnamese food, you might also want to try summer rolls (meat and or veggies wrapped in rice paper) or bahn mi (yummy Vietnamese baguettes).
Pho House is accessible, family friendly and filled with dishes that transport you half way to Vietnam and back. You and your little ones will dig it – pho sho.
Pho House, 39 Holloway Rd, N7 8JP (Highbury & Islington tube)