Bold Street, Liverpool
Words by Lydia Connolly
As a lover of Asian cuisine, and anything with noodles for that matter, I couldn’t believe my luck when I was invited along to Bold Street’s newest addition Pho.
Already making a storm on social media with its Instagram-worthy dishes, Pho offers a selection of Vietnamese specialities but emphasis is, unsurprisingly, focused on pho – Vietnam’s national dish.
My stomach rumbled as my dinner date and I were seated and my senses were overcome by the aromatic smells coming from the kitchen. These were no doubt a result of the many broths prepared on site, providing the flavoursome soup bases.
We were offered a serving of prawn crackers with a sweet chilli dip as we familiarised ourselves with the menu. Intrigued by the sound of the Rose Apple Bellini (£6.50) we ordered one each and were pleasantly surprised by the refreshing blend of prosecco and Táo Mèo, a Vietnamese rose apple liquor.
To start, we ordered pork cha giò (£5.45) – crispy spring rolls served with a choice of two dips – and feeling very much in the spirit of Vietnam we settled on the nuoc châm dip, a chilli infused sauce that complemented the spring rolls nicely.
With just one spring roll left we were slightly embarrassed when our waiter informed us that the best way to eat cha giò is by first wrapping them in the lettuce leaves we initially thought were on the plate for presentation.
Making the most of the remaining roll I heeded the advice and agreed that the lettuce added a crisp freshness to the deep fried starter.
When it came to the main course I couldn’t resist the sound of the house special pho bò nâm trúng (£10.25); a rice noodle soup filled with brisket, enoki and button mushrooms and creamy egg yolk.
My dinner date however strayed away from the pho options and instead plumped for chicken bún (£8.75), a vermicelli noodle dish served with fresh herbs, beansprouts, a vegetable spring roll and peanuts.
My pho was definitely a hands-on experience. Served alongside your bowl of noodle soup is a selection of fresh herbs that you’re advised to add to it to accommodate your taste. I added generous amounts of fresh chilli, bean sprouts and Vietnamese parsley to give a kick to my beef broth.
The flavours were wonderful and experimenting with the many herbs and Vietnamese sauces available on the table allowed me to create a dish that was tailored specifically for me.
My dinner date’s bún journey was slightly less impressive. While she initially enjoyed the dish, it wasn’t long before the spices had the better of her and, much to her disappointment, she quickly lost the battle with her bowl of noodles.
I must add that she was given an option of a plain or spicy bún but, in hindsight, the level of heat was definitely underestimated.
Both defeated by our main course we made the decision to pass over the dessert menu, although on my next visit I’m eager to try the bánh sô-cô-la truffle – a chocolate truffle slab served with green tea ice cream.
Although a national chain, Pho’s style and décor fits in seamlessly with Bold Street’s independent offerings and I was pleased to discover that the graffiti lining the walls was painted by local artist Leimai Lemaow.
This fusion of local work with Vietnamese tradition will do well in Bold Street’s melting pot of restaurants, serving up dishes from across the globe.