Having worked in a Vietnamese restaurant for 6 months when I was living in Melbourne and having travelled in Vietnam for a month in 2014, from North to South, I like to think I have a pretty good understanding of Vietnamese food and culture. That’s why I can safely say with (some) credibility, that the food I had at Pho & Bun in London, was pretty great!
Now, I’ve never had a good dining experience in Chinatown, London. Food poisoning – yes, great food – no. (If anyone has some good Chinatown tips please let me know). So I entered Pho & Bun situated on Shaftesbury Avenue, lying on the outskirts of Chinatown, with very, very low expectations but was pleasantly surprised. It’s now one of my ‘go to’ places in that area.
Now first I must confess, this place isn’t for authentic vietnamese food, no. It’s better than that. Like ‘brunch’, the ‘phone camera’ or ‘Johnny Cash’s cover of Hurt’, some of the best things have been created from amalgamating different things together. Pho & Bun fuses Vietnamese food with a western, modern twist. It serves up classic Vietnamese flavours – lime, coriander, chilli, ginger but cooked up how we like it with quality cuts of meat.
The dish that epitomises this ‘East meets West’ relationship comes in the form of a steamed bao burger – of course it does. We ordered a range of dishes – rice paper rolls, spring rolls, pho, but for me the tastiest dish was this honey glazed pork belly served in a super soft steamed bun. The bun was so soft you’d wish you could sleep on it.
I am keen to go back there and try out other dishes and other flavours of the steamed bun burger.
One thing I will say is try not to go there when it’s too busy – so prime dinner time on Fri/Sat. They seem to want to accommodate everyone but once this was to the detriment of the food. Take your time Pho & Bun, and keep doing what you do best.
Oh and the sweet potato fries are pretty great too.
And if you do head further afield from London for some Vietnamese grub, say Vietnam? Be sure to check out this previous blog entry: My Top Food Experiences in Vietnam