It’s no coincidence that the word Phó, also happens to be the first three letters of my name. I like to think that’s not all I have in common with this Phó-tastic dish.
1. A comfort on cold and rainy afternoons.
2. Colourful and full of complexities.
3. A little bit sweet and a little bit spicy.
So when I heard that my brother from another mother was having its very own festival, aptly named Phó Festival, I needed to see what all the Phó-uss was about.
Mama’s Buoi is dishing up a month long menu special dedicated to the flavours of Phó. This four-course menu starts with a cocktail concoction featuring gin and grand marnier. As Georges and I are non-drinkers we asked for a mocktail version. Our waiter paused and thought for a moment before telling us that the only non-alcoholic liquid in the drink was lime juice. Somehow a glass of lime juice didn’t seem to cut it.
Georges gave the drink a miss but in order to fully experience everything that was on offer I ordered one just to try. For someone who doesn’t drink I was surprised at how……..drinkable it was. It went down pretty easily and I didn’t find the alcohol too overpowering. I told Georges to have a sip, which he did then proceeded to pull a face like he’d just licked poo off the bottom of his shoe. I gave mine to Jon to finish off and of course he was happy to oblige.
Once our palettes were adequately cleansed we began our Phó food journey. We started with Mama’s Phó Roll, which is perfectly described as a rice paper roll with all the taste of a Phó. Imagine mini Phó parcels.
The meat, herbs and beansprouts are carefully incased in thick sheets of noodle and finished off with a sprinkling of crispy shallots. The Phó Roll is tasty enough on it’s own but once dipped in the sauce of hoisin, palm sugar and fish sauce these mouthfuls are elevated to a Phó-abulous level of yum.
Now on to the main attraction, the inspiration behind the festival, the Seafood Phó. Made using chicken broth, the soup was clean and light. With a mixture of tiger prawns, squid and barramundi it definitely lived up to its name.
The quality of the meat was excellent and was all cooked perfectly although I did find the squid quite bland. However the prawns and barramundi easily made up for it, even if it was a bit light on the barra.
With all the usual toppings I piled mine high with beansprouts, Vietnamese mint, chili sauce, a squeeze of lemon and that amazing hoisin sauce. The Phó was delicious and they were generous with the vegetables and noodles.
When you hear the words Phó and ice cream they are not usually two words you would associate with one another. I’ll be honest, I was dubious. My mind toyed with ideas of hoisin ice cream, beef ice cream and chili ice cream.
Thankfully it was none of the above, instead we had a seriously good cinnamon and cardamon ice cream served on a bed of crushed ginger biscuits and sesame seeds and syrup coated palm seeds. The combination of flavours was such a head spin and of course the boys was gentlemanly enough to let me finish this one off. I absolutely loved this dish and it was easily my Phó-avourite of the four.
All four parts of the menu can be ordered separately allowing you to try as little or as much as you like. I recommend trying all four, would you expect anything else? It’s a wonderfully unique spin on the well-known Phó and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next. Hint, hint Mama’s Buoi……
Mama’s Buoi Phó Festival is running until 28th August 2016 so make sure you don’t miss out on this Phó-tastical and Phó-lavourful (OK, last one I promise) food experience.