My latest eating escapades took place a little closer to home than my most recent posts.
20 minutes from my front door in fact.
Nestled in amongst the newsagents, bazaars and everyday shops which make up the village of Northenden, sits Mi and Pho; the latest restaurant to claim home in this part of town.
Already comfortably sat on rave reviews for its irresistable Vietnamese food, I wasted no time in making a reservation and set off with one of my very best buddies, a fellow foodie friend (and aren’t they just the best kind?) to taste for ourselves. Bundled up against the cold, we squeezed into the heaving restaurant and were welcomed immediately by the manager who showed us to our table.
The restaurant itself is a low-key affair; a no muss, no fuss kinda joint but with a strong passion of delivering authentic, distinct flavours and impeccable service.
The atmosphere was abuzz despite being early evening and booking is clearly a must. Tables are filled instantly once vacated and whilst the good guys at Mi & Pho will do their best to accommodate everyone, some are inevitably left surrendering to a take out, which is no tragedy but limits your order to how much you can carry.
The layout is cosy and makes the most of the limited space so to feed as many eager patrons as possible. Tables are positioned closely together (perfect for swiping the last spring roll on the table adjacent if you’re quick enough), and the bar operates under a “BYOB” style which adds to the homey, relaxed feel of the eatery.
Now, let’s get down to the good stuff.
Make sure you go hungry, the entire menu is simply too good to resist.
We ordered prawn Summer Rolls, Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings and Spring Rolls to appease our appetites whilst we perused the rest of the menu.
Summer Rolls are a close, translucent cousin of the Spring Roll and use rice paper to wrap together crisp, crunchy greens and plump, juicy prawns.
These babies come in a variety of options of which I’d recommend you try, however be sure to opt for a meaty filling such as pork or beef for more of a taste-sensation.
The Salt and Pepper Wings combine succulent, meaty bites of chicken with a garlicky, crisp coating and just the right amount of kick.
Utterly moreish and crack-a-lackin’ good. Order two lots (trust me).
The Spring Rolls are your classic, meat-filled, veggie-infused, crunchy, bite-sized cylinders of joy. It’s very rare you can go wrong with a Spring Roll and these in particular are packed perfectly crisp with a soft meaty reward in the middle – bangin’.
For our mains, we ordered the Chicken Pho – which is served by the humongous bowlful, (seriously, I could have/wanted to take a bath in there…). Pork Bún Hà Nộ and a Beef Salad to share.
The Pho combines slurps of humble, chicken broth flavours with satisfying mouthfuls of broad, flat rice noodles. Generous slices of chicken are incorporated to pad out the dish and are infused with the softest kisses of coriander and onion.
Granted, this is not a dish which will blow your socks off, but is a a warming and aromatic classic and a great choice if you’re craving something light and comforting.
If you’re looking for a dish that’s shovel-in-your-mouth-because-you-can’t-get-enough-kind of good, go for the Bún Hà Nộ (and have fun trying to pronounce it properly).
Select your meat of choice or can even have a spring roll combo, although I highly recommend you get the pork.
Handsome chunks of pork are marinated before being chargrilled and laid on a soft bed of vermicelli noodles, pickled vegetables and a side of fish sauce (tip: forgo the fish sauce and ask for that divine peanut sauce I mentioned earlier).
Crushed peanuts are the final flourish on this dish and add a salty, pleasing crunch to every other mouthful.
We tucked right in.
Irresistibly tender and a winning marriage of flavours, it’s welcoming and home cooking at it’s very best.
Intrigued by the beef salad, we ordered this dish to share over our mains and were pleasantly surprised at the standout flavours hidden in the unsuspecting costumes of mixed cabbage and greens.
The salad is tossed in a signature sauce that’s a flurry of zingy, sharp flavours. Hunks of raw steak add to the juicy textures, whilst a final sprinkle of chopped chillies help to create an unsuspecting dish that really packs a whollup.
Feeling more stuffed than a pair of summer rolls, my friend and I sat back as our stack of plates were carried away, exclaiming our delight over the feast we’d just consumed.
The manager popped over to our table once again to check everything had been satisfactory.
“You ate quite a lot tonight…I’m impressed! I didn’t realise girls could eat so much.”
Flattery, indeed does get you everywhere sir.
We took two desserts to go.
Admittedly, this eatery may seem a little rough around the edges to some, but you know what? I kind of love it that way.
Always one to appreciate substance over style, it’s always the unsuspecting locations which provide the best grub, deliciously proven by Mi & Pho with every plateful they serve.
With already a date in the diary to return, I can’t wait to try more of what Mi & Pho have to offer and to attempt to convince the manager once again to give me the ingredient list to the peanut sauce I had grown rather attached to (of which he already declined twice).
Take your appetite, order to your hearts content and enjoy! Just don’t pho’get to book!