Review: Family Fun at Pho

pho leicester

Vietnamese street food restaurant, Pho, is based on Leicester’s High Street nestled amongst a number of the city’s other stylish restaurants and bars. Pho delivers an authentic taste of Vietnam, with an extensive menu including gỏi salads, phở noodle soups, cơm tấm broken rice and bún noodles.

Pho recently launched a set-price kids menu, offering younger visitors a tasty, mild but equally authentic introduction to Vietnamese cuisine. To get the real family focused lowdown, we asked Leicester bloggers Jamie and Tom along with their sons Lyall and Rich to try out Pho’s new family offering. Keep reading to find out how they got on and to be in with a chance of winning your own family night out as we have a meal for 4 to give away…

pho leicester

I’m Jamie, author of Leicester-based family lifestyle blog Daddy & Dad. My fiancé Tom and I adopted our two little boys, Lyall and Richard four years ago and we blog about our experiences as a family.

We love a night out with the kids. Back when we adopted Lyall and Rich in 2014 we made the decision we’d make up for lost time by taking the boys with us everywhere – pubs, restaurants, shopping, garden centres, family parties, holidays… everywhere. The boys are adventurous little eaters; they’re brave with spice and not particularly fussy. So, we jumped at the opportunity to check out the city’s new Vietnamese restaurant, Pho on behalf of Cool As Leicester.

pho leicester

Leicester caters well for families with young children – we’re lucky to have a world of tasty restaurants in our city. But we haven’t tried food from Vietnam before, so we were all super-excited to find out what Pho’s menu would be like.

When we arrived at Pho the first thing we noticed was its delicious smell. A kind of spicy, earthy warm delicious smell we haven’t experienced before. The kids were licking their lips before we’d even sat down.

The main menu

Pho Leicester

Our waiter explained the main menu– it’s split into starters, salads, noodle soups, broken rice, vermicelli noodles and fried noodles. The idea was to select a dish and to add extra herbs, hot sauces and spices until it reaches a perfect balance. Yum!

The Kids Menu

Pho leicester

The Kids Menu offers a trimmed down version of the main menu. There are two noodle dishes, a noodle soup, meaty skewers and two rice dishes.

A kids’ meal is £5.50, plus an additional £1 for a dessert. We visited Pho on a Wednesday, which means kids eat free… Bargain!

Drinks

pho leicester

To accompany our starters, Tom and I enjoyed a Vietnamese lager called Beer Lao (£7.25 for a large bottle). Don’t be put off by the price – it’s enormous, cold, fizzy and tasty. Perfect! We were off to an excellent start.

To accompany our main course, the waiter recommended a French Bellefontaine Malbec (£20.75). The Malbec’s fruity, full bodied flavour was a good match for our spicy main courses. Lovely.

The boys chose coconut water. Lyall got a little confused and used his coconut water as a dip for his prawn crackers which apparently made a delicious combo!

Starters

pho leicester

The kids’ menu didn’t include a starter, so we treated the boys to their favourite thing ever (literally they would eat this for every meal if they were allowed) – chicken wings, to share. Called Cánh gà, the boys’ Vietnamese crispy chicken wings were scoffed down in minutes!

I chose Gỏi ngó sen starter, a lotus stem salad with chicken and prawn. It was crisp and crunchy, with juicy, pickled lotus stems and toasty sesame seeds.

pho leicester

The portion sizes are generous. I’d almost recommend the starters to share, particularly if (like us) you accompany your starter with an enormous litre of fizzy beer… That said, we’re not good at sharing when it comes to tasty food!

Tom chose Chả giò, crispy veggie spring rolls with a peanut sauce. The idea is to wrap the spring rolls into lettuce leaves, dip and scoff. Again, a really good-sized portion. The spring rolls were hot, crispy and full of spicy vegetables.

pho leicester

Main courses

Lyall chose Bún noodles topped with veggie spring rolls. An admirable portion – we were impressed by its size! The spaghetti-like noodles were lovely and the crispy spring rolls crunchy and delicious. Lyall wasn’t too keen on the dip – he’s going to try a different dipping sauce next time. The children’s chopsticks were a fantastic success; both the boys mastered their technique in minutes!

pho leicester

Richard went for Bún noodles tossed with chicken and a sweet chilli dipping sauce. The family decided Richard’s main course was the winner of the whole meal – absolutely delicious. A show- stopper! We all had a try (much to Richard’s annoyance).

pho leicester

Tom chose Pho Xào, wok fried flat rice noodles with tofu and mushroom and a ginger soy dip. Surprisingly Tom’s dish was the spiciest of the evening, possibly a result of the additional spices and herbs he mixed into his noodles. The tofu is an effective dipping vehicle for the soy dip! We all shared a side of crunchy green beans and sugarsnaps with a peanut sauce.

pho leicester

I went for a Pho Chin Vietnamese soup with slow cooked beef brisket. It was delicious – salty, spicy and succulent with loads of pulled beef and crunchy spring onions. I’d never seen a wooden soup spoon before – it took a little getting used to. I used the chopsticks (well, attempted to use the chopsticks) to eat the beef and noodles and finished off with the big wooden spoon to enjoy the broth. We shared a side of stir-fried morning glory – a warm green vegetable salad cooked in garlic.

Desserts

pho leicester

For dessert the boys each had a banana fritter with strawberry ice cream. Crunchy, warm, delicious and polished off in minutes! Tom and I had a sorbet from the kids’ menu – a refreshing end to end a fantastic, spicy, delicious and enormous meal.

So, the verdict?

All being new to Vietnamese cuisine, we had a wonderful first experience. Healthy, delicious and a winner with the boys. We can’t wait to go back for more.

pho leicester

Words by Jamie from Daddy & Dad. You can also follow them on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

 

**WIN**

Like what you’ve read? We have a family meal to give away! Yes, you could be taking your youngsters along to sample the excellent Vietnamese without spending a penny, as we have a meal and drinks for 4 people to give away (winning party must contain at least 1 child). In order to enter all you need to do is fill in the form below. Entries close at 5pm on Friday 14th September and the winner will be contacted shortly after and announced via social media. Good luck!

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Terms & conditions:

  • Winning party must contain at least 1 child.
  • No cash alternative.
  • Prize only valid at Pho Leicester.
  • Prize must be redeemed before end of December 2018.
  • Prize is valid for a 3 course meal and 2 x soft drink, bottle beer or glass of house wine per person.