IF you love Vietnamese, hustle on over to Pho Phu Quoc in Dickson; it’s authentic food that will put a smile on your face – not only because it’s super good, but because it’s served at (practically) give-away prices.
Don’t expect fancy décor (although the plaster cherubs, cloth flowers and little fairy lights are all pretty flash!); don’t expect to be babied by chatty staff asking how your day has been and don’t expect snob-factor tables, chairs or cutlery.
But do expect to enjoy dish after dish after dish.
The service is lightning-bolt quick, but you can stay as long as you want so your tummy has a chance to settle between courses.
Six of us dined at Pho Phu Quoc on a weekend. Two had been many times before, so they took charge of ordering from the extensive menu that features a tasty selection of house specialties, soups, rice and noodle dishes, vegetarian options and main courses of beef, chicken, pork, lamb, prawns and fish. Entrees start at $4.90 and most mains hover around $17.
The garlic chicken was piping hot and crunchy on the outside, moist on the inside and a super start. Then it was off to the rare beef soup with rice noodles, a traditional and widely popular dish in Vietnam, which is so comforting on a snappy, cold Canberra day. The thin, thin slices of tender beef cook in delicious, piping hot stock.
It’s the all-time favs at Pho Phu Quoc that delight the senses, including campfire beef, which comes in a clay pot over flames. You pretend you’re out in the wilderness cooking and, when the meat is done, carefully wrap it with veggies and pineapple in a rice paper roll, and then indulge (I know, I know, you don’t often encounter rice paper rolls in the bush, but pretending is free).
The duck is another top dish at this Vietnamese institution and so is the fish with ginger and chilli sauce, cooked whole and tasting as delicate as…
A new dish for all of us was the Vietnamese pancake, which was so massive it caused the conversation to momentarily stop. This special style crepe suzette was stuffed with prawns, pork, bean sprouts, onion and served with fish sauce. Absolute heaven.
And back to price… we ate all this and more for about $25 each (excluding tip).
We washed our meal down with wine (and, for one, cold beer) which we brought with us (byo only), but if you prefer there are heaps of fresh juices and shakes.
Pho Phu Quoc, 4/6 Cape Street, Dickson, Monday-Friday lunch and dinner; weekends open 10.30am-10.30 pm. Call 6249 6662. Groups welcome and banquet options available.