Pho House, 318 Racecourse Road, Flemington. Phone: 9372 1426
Flemington’s Racecourse Road is one of our favourite haunts.
One thing it did lack until very recently was a straight-up hardcore pho place.
Which probably accounts for Pho House being ultra-packed on the couple of times I’ve ambled past in the week or so since it opened.
No such problems early into a Saturday lunch session, with plenty of tables to spare.
Pho House is all regulation, though the dark-stained wooden chairs and the decor in general give the place a classy feel.
The orange-polo-shirted staff are plentiful, happy and on the ball.
They do a few things differently here, however.
For instance, rice paper rolls come in pairs for $5. As well, the “side dishes” portion of the menu has some dumpling entries, spicy salt calamari and even beef stew with bread rolls – all far from your standard pho joint repertoire.
They’re even doing laksas, though not on the day I visit.
One novel twist of which I heartily approve is the use of big metal spoons in the Asian style instead of the usual stainless-steel tablespoons.
Extra good for robust slurping!
Another point of difference – the pho varieties come in only two sizes, regular and large.
Being of substantial appetite, I order the large beef/chicken combination ($11.50), not caring much one way or the other if I will be getting my orthodox order of sliced beef/sliced chicken or something more elaborate.
What I do get is a sort of compromise.
The chicken is all of the simple, sliced variety, but joining the really super rare slices of beef are some tendon, beef ball segments, sausage and even a couple of hard-boiled chicken eggs.
The broth is of strong flavour and blessedly unsweet.
It’s all really, really top-shelf stuff, making for a very fine pho experience.
I’ve been enjoying my lunch and the new Stephen King book so much that it’s only upon departing that it finally dawns on me that this handy addition to the Racecourse Road scene has come with a subtraction.
The premises that Pho House inhabits was formerly the home of that long-standing and much-liked veteran Vy Vy.
I wonder what’s happened to Tiffany and her family?