Pho Ta, 131 Nicholson St, Footscray. Phone: 9041 2607
Pho Ta is a bit of an odd man out on this stretch of Nicholson St.
There’s another Vietnamese place a few doors along, but otherwise the whole street – both sides of it – is a rainbow of African, Turkish and even Iraqi hues.
As well, the Pho Ta kitchen is open and right out there in the rear of the restaurant dining room.
When I comment to the boss, Tony, that as far as I’m aware it’s the only set-up of its kinds in Footscray, he quickly sets me right.
“Only one of in all of Melbourne!” he proudly proclaims.
On this, my second visit, I see someone at one of the outside tables served a huge plateful of wok-cooked rice noodles with various vegetables and (I think) meats.
Tony tells me that while it appears Chinese, it is an authentic Vietnamese dish. I promise to try it next time.
There’s signs on the walls advertising the availability of banh mi bo ko (Vietnamese beef stew).
And as I arrive, Tony is whipping up a couple of serves of quickly wok-fried diced beef and onions to go with tomato rice.
But mostly, this is a straight-up pho joint.
On my previous visit I’d made the mistake of ordering a medium-size soup, and didn’t even get halfway through it.
This time, I get smart and order a small “sliced beef and sliced chicken” ($7.50).
The broth is quite a deep brown and is equally deep of flavour.
MSG? Probably quite a lot, I suspect.
Care factor? Zero.
For a small serve, there’s a lot of meat.
The chicken is beautiful – no bones, gristle, fat or skin.
AND there’s two kinds of beef – already cooked, thickly sliced brisket and thinly sliced raw beef cooking in the broth.
The bean sprouts and herb components are of fine quality and – bonus! – there’s lime instead of lemon.
Could be we’ve found a new default setting when it comes to Footscray pho.
Check out Ms Baklover’s review here.