On a rainy Sunday evening the streets were empty of anyone except the wet and bedraggled, so the welcoming sight of Bowl O Pho and the smile of Helen there was enough to warm myself and Nina up, writes Michael Holland…
As is the usual for us in places where we are not entirely sure of what’s good on the menu, we left Helen completely in charge of what we should have and she did us proud. First to excite us was a selection of summer rolls and a pot of Vietnamese tea: a clean, aromatic brew that freshened the mouth and palate.
The summer rolls came in a diaphanous rolled pancake, a membrane that allows you to see the delights within. To get a broader review of these delicacies we had one each: prawn, grilled chicken, and tofu and avocado. They are light, tasty and just right for a first course. The choice of dips was good too; I preferred the sweet and sour Vietnamese sauce to the peanut, although there was nothing at all wrong with either.
Nina had a bubble tea, something that seems to be a current trend. She loved it and got very excited as she explained how each different coloured bubble was full of various fruit juices that burst in the mouth. Each time one went pop she would describe the feeling and try to guess the fruit. She thinks that she had mango, lychee and orange, plus a whole lot of fun drinking it.
Next up was the crispy pancake with grilled chicken filling. This was a bright yellow affair made from rice flour and quite light in texture and taste. The meat inside was tender and juicy, contrasting nicely with the crunchy bean sprouts. We both liked the fresh herbs and salad that accompanied each dish.
For the next course Helen brought prawn steamed rice roll, which was just like a giant summer roll. The simple, translucent pancake allows the taste of the prawn filling to come through; its mildness countered with a dash of Vietnamese sauce.
But you cannot dine in a Vietnamese restaurant without having the traditional pho, the large bowl of noodle soup so adored by everyone who has ever had it. We had the pho special because it included prawn, rare beef and chicken. Herbs, chilli and lemon is also provided as an accompaniment for those who want to make it a hot and sour soup. We did.
Bowl O Pho does good, authentic Vietnamese food at good prices. We found it wholesome, very tasty and a pleasure to meet the friendly staff.
Bowl O Pho
234 High St
020 8460 0808