Opening its first restaurant in London in 2005, Pho has kept its values of being a family run, small and informal whilst serving great value, deliciously healthy and authentically prepared Vietnamese street food.
Now with seven restaurants, its latest opening was at Trinity Kitchen in Leeds as a permanent trader back in October last year.
Picture: Diane Wong
As someone who likes to eat out on a regular basis I have welcomed Pho as my post work dinner stop for a quick, healthy and reasonable priced place to eat.
Healthy is the keyword here and although I am a regular Pho-goer I was invited to come and try out their menu and to discover just how healthy the options on offer were.
Whilst ordering some drinks and prawn crackers to start with. With a lovely sweet Vietnamese beer, their SUPER green juice made with kale, pineapple, apple and lime and a serving of Bánh Phồng Tôm which were prawn crackers with sweet chilli dipping sauce.
We sat down to start analysing the nutritional guide we were handed alongside our menu. The menu is sensible with a small but good mixture of Vietnamese street food on offer. This allows them to have the time to make everything in-house and fresh food.
Just scrolling through the list it is hard to find anything remotely naughty (except maybe the spring rolls!) which means that you can pretty much choose any dish you like and be comfortable with knowing that you have not overindulged.
We ordered our starters, sides and mains to arrive together. As a group of three we over-ordered but we still got to try lots of different dishes.
For starters my friends partner opted for the Nem Nướng, which are homemade pork and lemongrass meatballs homemade pork & lemongrass meatballs, whilst my friend and I chose the Gỏi Cuốn Tom which are lovely little rice paper summer rolls bursting with prawns, fresh vegetables and herbs.
We all had our own main dish. I went for the Phở Tái Lan which is a steaming bowl of rice noodle soup served with fresh herbs and flash fried beef (Hanoi style). It's the national dish of Vietnam and is extremely tasty, healthy and good for you! This massive bowl comes in at only 347 calories and 1g of saturated fat.
Pho is also extremely adaptable and a bit of a DIY act. Accompanying my Pho came a platter of hot red chilli, coriander, mint, beansprouts and lime for me to add at my pleasure.
My friend and her partner both opted for the Bun Noodles with chicken and juicy tiger prawns which were still shockingly under 500 calories at 424 and 362 calories respectively.
This came in a bowl with sot vermicelli rice noodles, fresh herbs, crunchy carrot and mooli pickle, crisp lettuce and a spicy seasoning to top. Garnished with roasted peanuts and fried shallots, it is meant to be soaked in the nuoc cham sauce which accompanies the dish and mixed before eating.
On hearing that all of the salads from Pho are under 300 calories we wanted to try a few of them out.
We went for the Gỏi Xoài salad which is a spicy green mango salad topped with pork, dried shrimp and peanuts, as well as the Gỏi Ngó Sen with tangy lotus stems, chicken, king prawns, green beans and sesame seeds. Both were extremely filling and deliciously fresh in flavour. A definite highlight.
I really enjoy the food at Pho and in particular I am impressed by their salads. With it being so close to where I work it is the perfect option for a healthy meal at an affordable price (most main dishes range from £5-8).
You can view all the nutritional information for Pho online here.