Wat Da Pho, a newish Vietnamese restaurant located in the heart of South Melbourne. Authentic Vietnamese cuisine with a specialty in… Pho! If you love Pho, you’re in for a treat. If you don’t know what Pho is, you’re also in for a treat and if you don’t love Pho… who are you?
The decor sets this place apart from your typical pho restaurants around Melbourne, mostly spotted in Richmond, Footscray or Springvale. The menu also offers something more simple, Vietnamese food noobs, you can’t really go wrong as there is only 3 entree’s, 3 types of Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) and 3 desserts.
They have chosen to dress this place up nicely in a cheap-but-not-nasty kind of way. Traditional ingredients, photo’s from Vietnam, pots and pans are just some of the elements used to give this place a modern feel and also tie in the roots of their business - Simple yet delicious Vietnamese cuisine.
The ambiance was warm and casual. The furniture and cleanliness is a lot nicer than the cheap nasty plastic you get in Chinatown or other cheap asian restaurants.
Pineapple & Passionfruit Smoothie - A great drink to start off with as Vietnamese cuisine is quite light. This was refreshing and delicious. Perfect for a hot day, and a generous portion for $5.50 They also do some alcoholic smoothies which i’m yet to try, but they sound
equally more delicious.
Condiments are a big deal in Vietnamese cuisine, its great to see they have an abundance of fish sauce, hoisin sauce and the best Sriracha ever (Huy Fong Foods). I could not live without that stuff, and it works perfectly as a Pho topping. Just looking at the condiments was enough to get my tastebuds excited.
Step aside taco’s, you have some competition. Rice paper rolls seem to be the hottest new food in Melbourne recently, with multiple vietnamese restaurants capitalising on the rising popularity of rice paper rolls. Good on them I say, as the more rice paper rolls we get, the happier and healthier we are!
Nick and I had to get all the rice paper rolls, mainly because I ordered. Lemongrass pork, prawn and chicken avocado. They were all delicious, my favourite one was the prawn, although it was the smallest, not sure if it was meant to be. The hoisin sauce was a bit boring compared to other places, it would have been nice to see some crushed nuts in there. Anyway, it’s not about the sauce, the verdict comes down to the rice paper rolls, luckily they were fresh and delicious and only left me wanting more. They had a vegetarian/tofu one too which I am yet to try! Let me know how it is.
Condiments aren’t the only thing in Vietnamese food that really makes the meal your own. They often have fresh vegetable add-ons served to the side so you can add as much or as little flavours as you like. Bean sprouts, thai basil, vietnamese mint, fresh cut chilli, and lime.
This was for the Pho. We got the delicious rare beef pho. Fresh flavours and good quality ingredients. I felt like I could ‘trust’ this food a lot better than a typical asian joint down Chinatown.
The broth was light and refreshing. The noodles were cooked well, and the beef was nice and tender. The bean sprouts added a nice little crunch while a bit of pepper seasoned the soup. I went a little overboard with the condiments, as I always do. Be extra careful with the chilli, it can get quite hot. It’s a lot easier to ‘add’ flavour than it is to ‘take away.’
We also got ‘Da Sticks’ Honey sesame chicken on rice. They were tasty and well seasoned. Simple.
Thank god I don’t have to travel into the city for Vietnamese food anymore. Wat Da Pho definitely brings something different to South Melbourne and it looks like all the other Vietnamese restaurants need to step up their game. Welcome to my stomach Wat Da Pho!
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Wat Da Pho
212 Clarendon Street