Pho Saigon

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6-8 Lorne Street,
Auckland Central

(09) 377 3288

The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byBrett Atkinson2/02/2009

4 out of 5 stars

The last time I had pho (pronounced ‘fur’) this good was crouching on a tiny stool outside the Hanoi railway station in Vietnam. A few years later the central Auckland surroundings for my hearty bowl of Vietnamese rice noodle soup are slightly flasher, but the flavours are still warming and authentic.

In Vietnam, pho piled high with fresh herbs and bean sprouts is usually served for breakfast. At the South Vietnam Restaurant, it’s part of a lunch and dinner menu focused on affordable and healthy Vietnamese favourites.

I kick off with a selection of spring rolls. The deep fried chao gio are perfectly light and crunchy and lacking the occasional greasiness of a few other places around town. At just $6 for three they’re excellent value. The fresh summer rolls or nem cuon are crammed with prawns and fresh mint. Three for $6 sounds like a pretty good idea for a healthy lunch for city workers.

For my main it’s the aforementioned pho ga ($12), rice noodles crammed with shredded chicken and a mountain of fresh mint and coriander. It would be great with a cold beer, but the restaurant is still confirming their liquor license. Let’s hope they find a way to import Bia Saigon like theVietnamese restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne. Tonight I plump for an avocado shake ($6) – think the ultimate creamy smoothie – and it’s almost a mini-dessert in itself. Avocado shakes will definitely only be available when avocados are in season, so it’s worth popping in pronto to have one before it’s too late.

The new Lorne St premises mark a return to the city for the South Vietnam Restaurant after a few years near Eden Park. It was there they introduced banh mi or Vietnamese sandwiches to their menu. Think of them as a Saigon-style Subway. A fresh baguette is toasted and then filled with your meat of choice – the grilled pork marinated in lemongrass is especially good – and then crammed with fresh carrot, cucumber, coriander and Vietnamese-style paté.

It’s a winning combination that was first perfected during the French colonial times in Vietnam. In a new century and a new country, it’s the kind of thing to put you off the golden arches, or kebabs or Jared’s favourite forever.

Pho Saigon has been reviewed by 1 users

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