Birmingham Eats: Phở Cafe

Since moving to live in Birmingham, I’m on a mission to explore to try and find a few places that offer healthier options when eating out, as well as a few not-so-healthy places! As with most cities, there are countless cafes, restaurants, diners and delis here, whatever your taste buds you’ll be hard pressed not to find something appealing.

Pho

Pronounced ‘fuh’, apparently – a Vietnamese restaurant in Grand Central Station, aptly named after their national dish.

It’s got all sorts of variety within a the staples of the traditional Pho noodle soup, wok fried noodles, spicy soups, Vietnamese salads, curries and rice dishes, as well as starters and sides. There’s beef, prawn, tofu, chicken  and veggie options to name a few. Choose indulgence or keep it light.

For those of you with dietary restrictions, you needn’t be left dipping between one or two measly dishes, nor having to settle for something that you’d rather pass on. There are many options that will cater for dairy, egg and gluten free diets, as well as vegan options. For those really concerned, a full allergen and nutritional breakdown of their menu can be found on their website, so if necessary, scope it out beforehand.

For example, I had the Pho Ga – Vietnamese chicken noodle soup. A clear chicken broth, shredded chicken, rice noodles, chilli, spring onions, coriander and bean sprouts. Every table has fish sauce, sriracha, chilli and garlic paste, vinegar and hoisin to adapt your meal to your liking. Whilst I can’t say it was the easiest or quickest thing to eat for the untrained Vietnamese diner (me!), it was tasty and certainly filling. My chicken was perhaps a little dry considering it was immersed in liquid, but other than that, can’t really fault it for what it was! Definitely my kind of dish and cuisine.

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Next time I’ll be trying out what my friend opted for: Bun Chicken – vermicelli rice noodles with a lemon grass, chilli and peanut wok fried topping. It looked and smelled delicious!

The beauty of this place is you can make it as much a pick and mix option as you want, and I’d imagine it would be brilliant for larger groups if you wanted to try a number of different dishes. Think Yo Sushi!, but so you don’t have to order multiple dishes and still leave more than satiated.

The service was super speedy, even on a busy Friday night at 7.45pm. My friend and I were seated and had our orders taken within 10 minutes, our food following not long after. In addition to this – the price is so reasonable, even on a student budget! My meal with tap water was only £8.50, with the most expensive dish on the menu being only £10.95.

Definitely recommend – I’m no Vietnamese connoisseur so I can’t speak for it’s authenticity, but you can tell it’s freshly made, and there’s something for everyone here, health conscious or not! Particularly as you can tailor your dish to your liking with the items on the table. But on the note of health, it is worth nothing that the majority of options are in the 300-500 calorie range. Eating out doesn’t get much more virtuous than that, if you want it to be..!

 

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