Hien Vuong Pasteur, 164 Hopkins Street, Footscray. Phone: 9687 9698
The many shoulder-to-shoulder eating houses of Footscray are forever in a state of flux.
Old ones close, new ones open, stayers are overhauled, new names and a lick of paint are applied to the tired – and some disappear forever.
It’s a fascinating cycle, one experienced – often subliminally – by anyone who spends time there.
And so it is that our fave pho joint has had a makeover.
We’ve always favoured Hien Vuong Pasteur – for the high-quality of its food, but also because it’s a smallish family operation that can relied upon to always have a seat or table to spare.
So in some ways we’re sad to see its old-school formica/utilitarian/white classic pho house appearance give way to something hipper.
But in truth the revamp here has been done with more class than most in this neighbourhood – its stylish and welcoming, a central high table with stools surrounded by orthodox tabling.
And it appears to be working!
On both our recent visits here, the place has been bustling.
And the food?
Well that hasn’t changed – still top-shelf pho house classics.
Including superb medium pho with sliced chicken and beef ($12).
Like most of its kind, Hien Vuong Pasteur has a smallish range of more exotic dishes, including bo kho (beef stew, $12).
This one – served with both egg and rice noodles at my request – is a bit different from others in the west, in that the beef pieces are smaller and there are no bones.
But the keys, as always with this dish, are the soup/broth (very good) and the carrot.
The carrot is invariably in big chunks – and hopefully holding together yet on the verge of disintegration.
As is the case here!