Vietnamese street food is a growing craze in London right now, and Pho & Bun has brought it right into the heart of London’s theatre district, in its tiny but trendy Shaftesbury Avenue space. The split-level interiors – tables for two in the front, and a larger eating area downstairs – set an authentic scene, with Vietnamese street food-art painted directly on the exposed brick walls, and low wooden tables crammed with traditional sardine-run pottery. Bamboo lanterns hanging from the ceiling cast a warm glow, evoking the ambience of lantern-lit Vietnamese towns.
The menu features a variety of typical Vietnamese dishes, such as summer roll with tiger prawns, but as the name suggests, the focus is on pho, the traditional Vietnamese noodle soup that’s rich in chicken or pork with herbs, and the range of steamed bun or bao dishes. The bao buns, newly introduced to London, are filled with a 28-day-aged beef patty accompanied by the restaurant’s signature smoky mayonnaise, plus herbs and fresh salad. Their milky consistency gives them a deliciously soft, fluffy, chewy texture.
At one end of the restaurant is a bijou bar, offering a selection of amazing cocktails – it’s really mandatory to try one or more. The staff are the friendliest around, and it all adds to the relaxing pleasure.
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