I first drove past Pho Vietnam House in Grove Street four days ago. I was delighted that Vietnamese cuisine was back in Edinburgh in the form of a restaurant. I immediately tweeted out that there was a new place in town and the response within minutes was where? What’s is called? Where’s your review?
I drove past on Sunday afternoon, but it was closed, so I eyed up the menu from outside and starting salivating at the thought of a bowl of pho bo or chau ga . As I peered into the window, a friendly Vietnamese lady sprang to the door and said ‘welcome, welcome’ but that immediately changed to squeals of delight as I greeted her in Vietnamese.
She gave me a copy of the menu and told me to come back very soon, which I did – the next day.
The restaurant may not have been completely authentic in that it wasn’t 35 degrees, didn’t have short plastic stools or hundreds of motorbikes zooming past honking their horns – but the welcoming smile took me back to the streets of Hanoi immediately.
The restaurant is small, but cosy and the menu is simple. The owner is prepared to make anything off-menu if you have a Vietnamese favourite. Having only been open for 10 days at the time of writing, it’s still clear that they need to sort a few things out – like a wider range of soft drinks and clarify if you can BYOB (no alcohol licence).
My dining partner and I couldn’t decide on what have but narrowed it down to the Vietnamese curry with chicken and pho noodle with meat to share. We could hear both being freshly prepared in the kitchen whilst various people came in to order take-aways.
The curry was served in a deep pot with a side of sticky rice and had a wonderful kick to it amongst the herbs and lemongrass also present. Ample chicken was to be found amongst the vegetables and potatoes and was a hit for the both of us.
The plate of pho noodles with meat was also devoured and was exactly as I remembered it from my months in Vietnam.
All the usual Vietnamese suspects are on the menu, but due to my allergy to sea food, I couldn’t tuck into the Vietnamese sping rolls with crab meat, but the owner did say she would make some without on my next visit.
We were offered tea and coffee, but time didn’t allow us to linger longer than the 30 minutes it took us to receive our food and eat it. There are no desserts on offer yet, apart from a sweet Vietnamese drink – but we were informed they are just ‘testing out’ the menu at the moment. Most dishes are around the £7 mark, our meal for two with soft drinks was £16. A lunch time special of a main dish with tea or coffee is a bargain at £4.95 and has me wishing my office was near to Grove Street.
Big smiles from the staff were present as we left who asked us to ‘come back soon’ . I will definitely be going back to sample more of the menu later this week, it was that good.
Overall 4 stars from us. The food gets 5, but they need to sharpen up a few extras first, but definitely a welcomed arrival to the Edinburgh food scene.
January 13th update – have eaten here several times since reviewing in October and the food and service with a smile is still as good as ever. Local celebrity chef Lea Harris ate there last night and can also recommend a meal here.
Monday – Friday 12noon – 2pm and 5pm – 10pm
Saturday & Sunday 5pm – 11pm
10% discount for students, takeaway available.
Suitable for disabled? Yes on ground level.