I was recently invited to review the 5 Course Tasting Menu at Pho & Bun, a casual cafe-style Vietnamese restaurant specialising in traditional noodle soups and filled buns. Building on the success of Viet Eat Holborn, Pho & Bun emphasises the offering of authentic Vietnamese street food at a reasonable price and in a setting that will make you feel as if you’ve stepped foot in Vietnam.
Located on Shaftesbury Avenue, just around the corner from Chinatown and Soho, don’t let the small unassuming restaurant exterior fool you the restaurant has two floors and quickly fills to capacity. Focused on crafting stunning dishes like their traditional Vietnamese Pho which carries the pleasant richness of beef bones being simmered overnight for 18 hours, together with a balanced combination of different herbs and spices.
They created the revolutionary Steamed Bun Burger, a first in the London-Vietnamese culinary scene and combines beef patties with freshly steamed buns that are made in-house every day. So of course we had to go for that as our one main dish although I did skip their signature smoky mayonnaise sauce as I’m just not a mayonnaise kind of girl. Whilst a burger may not appeal to you there is a vegetarian menu and there are plenty of gluten free options so they really cater well to a majority of dietary requirements.
Before getting the chance to try the revolutionary Steamed Bun Burger you get to choose three starters and believe me you will not go hungry during this meal. The £27.95 price tag is well worth it for the five courses you receive as they are all hearty meals that won’t leave you wanting more. From the starters I went for the Chilli Salt & Pepper Squid, which are gluten free, Sticky Honey Chicken Wings and the Honey Glazed Ribs which were all delicious. The Honey Glaze was so more-ish and I am a big fan of squid and the Chilli Salt & Pepper flavouring did not disappoint.
I went with my friend Abi who went for the Fresh Summer Roll with Tiger Prawn, the Vegan Mango Salad with Tiger Prawn, both gluten free options, and the Honey Glazed Spare Ribs. We were both rather full once we had finished our starters but followed them with the 28 Day Dry Aged Beef Bao Burgers in the Steamed Bun Burger. I have to say that my first thought on trying the Steamed Bun was confusion as it has a surprisingly light and sweet flavour to it that I wasn’t expecting but after a few bites I got used to the flavour and it was rather tasty.
Once it came to desserts we were very much at the tipping point of being too full to pick anything but when the waiter said that as well as the options on the menu we could have frozen yoghurt with a citrus sauce drizzled on top. As I’ve never tried frozen yoghurt before I didn’t want to miss out on the chance to give it a try and whilst tasty it doesn’t beat a classic ice cream for me. All in all I would definitely recommend Pho & Bun, the price of the tasting menu is well worth the amount of food you get, the food satisfies the taste buds and fills you up to the point you are not left wanting more. The only downside I had was that the restaurant can get a little cramped as it gets busier but then that also shows just how good of a restaurant it is right.