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A spotlight on Pho

By Grand Central 18 Nov 2015

Pho #SpotlightOn

Stephen Wall

How did Pho start? What’s your story?

My wife and I opened Pho, London’s first Vietnamese street food restaurant, in Clerkenwell in June 2005 after we travelled to Vietnam and fell in love with the food. I remember when we made the decision to start a restaurant serving pho -- while sat on high stools, slurping pho bo, around the shopfront of Pho Quynh in Ho Chi Minh City (323 Ð Pham Ngu Lao, if you’re heading there soon).

Ten years later, Jules and I are still running the business day to day and very much focussed on serving great value, authentically prepared Vietnamese street food.

Why did you want to come to Grand Central?

Birmingham has always been right at the top of our list of cities to open Pho in as we grow out of London – it’s got a huge, diverse, young population – and we’d hoped that our food would appeal. The opportunity at Grand Central came along at exactly the right time and we knew it would be a fantastic new development in the heart of the city. So we’re fortunate that it was an obvious decision to make. If things go well it’s likely that we’ll look at a further site in the city at some point.   

What do you love about Birmingham?

The people – again a very cool young audience for us -- and the growing food scene.  Fantastic vibrant city.

What makes Pho stand out?

We specialise in pho – the national dish of Vietnam. This is something that’s part of their culture – it’s eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner in Vietnam.

 While our menu is also made up of delicious and authentic Vietnamese street foods (like spicy salads, bun vermicelli noodles, wok-fried noodles and fragrant curries), our 12-hour bone broths are our specialty. We have more than 15 different kinds of pho on our menu and this is our focus.

What would you recommend from Pho?

Pho - our signature dish. From the list of pho’s, my favourites are:

Bun Bo Hue – our spicy brisket pho is incredible. Made with our bone broth and extra chilli paste for a kick, and amazing tender pulled brisket beef.

Pho dac biet – king prawns, tofu & flash-fried garlic steak in beef broth

Pho Ga – chicken breast in chicken broth (with our garlic & chilli vinegar added in!) and extra mushrooms.

We also recently added crispy, seasoned chicken wings (canh ga) to the menu that are really tasty.

Dining, Grand Central