Pho Faced

What a fine day. It started with a Pret A Manger egg and bacon croissant (warmed egg mayonnaise and ketchup shouldn't work but hoo boy, it certainly does) and a decent cup of coffee, continued with Frost / Nixon (the best film I've seen for a good few months), followed by a very entertaining lunch with Jez (all round solid chap and potential media legend) and has just finished with a new President. Who can actually string a sentence together. Admittedly I could have lived without the yelpy bits of Aretha Franklin's performance - where did her voice go? - or the Yo Yo Ma Lord of the Dance thing - er, why? - but the rest of it was really quite inspiring. Here's hoping, eh chaps?

So, lunch. We went to Pho on Great Titchfield Street, a good value Vietnamese place. It's a bit of a mixed bag, but I get the impression, not least as the place was heaving from 12ish til gone 2, that there are a lot of decent things on the menu if you know where to look. I'd say we found a couple of 'em. The summer roll prawn was good, with a deep coriander hit, but the mango salad, while pleasant, lacked a certain punch, I thought. It had a freshness but it was all too fleeting. Better though was the prawn soup. It was billed as spicy and was, but not ludicrously so, although that was deceptive as the gradual build up of heat followed. Mind you, as the noodles flopped back into the bowl and drops hit my face about a centimetre from my eye, I was glad it wasn't so full on. Seriously, for someone who eats out a lot, I really should be better at it...

The nicest thing about Pho is the presence on the table of fish sauce as well as some decent, unctuous, chilli sauce. And even better than that is the little tray of condiments that accompany each dish: fresh herbs, potent and fresh red chillis, bean sprouts and a wedge of lime. This means you can "pimp" your Pho in anyway you see fit.

Three starters, two mains, two teas brought change from £33, which puts it in Wagamama-rivalling territory. Only much, much more edible.


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