Friend or Pho: Gluten free street food
If you’re out and about in the West End and you’re struggling to find something tasty, filling and gluten free to grab for lunch or dinner, you should head to Pho.
Pho (pronounced feu in Vietnam or foe by anyone outside Vietnam) is the Vietnamese national dish and is a simple, fresh nutritional noodle soup dish that’s eaten for lunch, breakfast and dinner. And as it’s made with clear vegetable stock and rice noodles it’s also a great choice for coeliacs as it’s gluten free.
So last weekend we went to Pho the restaurant on Wardour Street, one of the four Pho restaurants in London, to try pho the dish.
And the first thing you notice about Pho is it’s pretty cool. As are the waiting staff. But they’re also friendly and super knowledgeable. Our waitress was very helpful and friendly and was happy to spend time going through the menu and pointing out the few dishes I couldn’t eat because they contained hoisin sauce or soya sauce (although Pho are happy to take these out). But most dishes on the menu are great for coeliacs and there were numerous vegetarian options too.
So what we did choose?
Well I started with Goi Cuon, fresh summer veggies and noodles wrapped in (gluten free) rice paper with a fish dipping sauce. And Andrew chose Cha Gio, fried pork spring rolls. Both these starters are fairly substantial and incredibly filling. So if you want to leave space for your main course you might want to share one of these.
At Pho everything is freshly made with ingredients that are delivered daily. So my Goi Cuon was packed full of fresh peppers and mint. And our server took the time to show Andrew how the lettuce could be wrapped round the pork spring rolls for extra crunch.
For the main course I chose Pho Chay, which is tofu, mushrooms and rice noodles in a veggie stock, and Andrew chose Bun Cha Gio Ga which is lemongrass chicken with a stir-fry topping and rice noodles, and is served with veggie spring roll and peanuts. This dish had a lovely combination of textures with crunchy stir-fry and soft noodles and a beautiful combination of flavours including coriander, chili, nut, and lemon. My Pho Chay came with side dish of fresh herbs including flat leaf parsley and mint, and chili so I could give my dish a bit of an extra kick if I wanted to. I didn’t need to. It was tasty and filling but a bit on the salty side for my personal taste.
There’s one item on the menu that you absolutely must try and that’s the homemade lemonade vodka. Cold, minty and packing a punch. Highly recommended.
Opening times: Monday to Saturday 12 – 11pm, Sunday 12pm – 10pm
Address: 63-165 Wardour Street, London, W1F 8WN,
Telephone: 020 7434 3938