Pho Viet is a small little Vietnamese restaurant on Parnell Street that you would easily pass by without noticing if you hadn't already heard all the hype. It's known as one of the most authentic Vietnamese restaurants in Dublin, so I decided to check it out last week. The restaurant itself is very simply decorated, no fuss or frills and definitely doesn't look like the most exciting place in the world to go for a bite to eat. I probably wouldn't have ventured in had I not heard how great it was.
The staff were really friendly and sat me down at a table by the window so I could people watch as I ate. The menu definitely has something for everyone. They sell Pho (noodle soup), Vietnamese pancakes, a variety of curries, rice dishes and noodle dishes. I decided to get their fresh rice paper spring rolls to start and the Pho for main because I had heard it was incredible.
The pork and prawn spring rolls were delicious. Each spring roll had two big juicy prawns and a slice of pork inside along with different fresh and crispy veggies. They came with the most delicious, salty satay sauce. They really were just so delicious, juicy and fresh. Definitely the nicest spring rolls I've had in Ireland. They had left out chopsticks which despite the helpful instructions I had no idea how to use, fulfilling many 'country' stereotypes. Even a trip to Thailand unfortunately hasn't improved my chopstick skills (or lack thereof), so I decided to use my hands like a complete barbarian. In my defence the couple next to me were doing the same thing so it seemed acceptable. I devoured them happily with lashings of the satay sauce, for €4 they were great value.
After that I started into my beef Pho, I went for their special which contained a mix of steak, brisket and meatballs. It came out with a plate of bean sprouts, mint, coriander, chilli and lemon on top. I assumed this was to throw into the soup but wasn't sure, I dunked it in anyway and ate away in paranoia that it might have been a side salad. The soup itself was like a fragrant broth packed with fresh veggies, rice noodles and the meat. The word meatball might be a bit misleading as the meatball slices tasted more like beef sausage than meatballs as we know them. The beef slices were similar to well cooked roast beef slices, and I was expecting them to be tender and slightly rare so that was my only qualm with the dish. However, overall it still tasted delicious. The broth was nice and gingery and I definitely felt like I was feeding my body with pure goodness. I have a really big appetite and would never be full after any kind of soup dish, but I couldn't even finish it. The Pho was €9.50 which again was great value considering the size and amount of meat in it.
Despite leaving stuffed to the gills, the whole thing was really fresh and healthy and I didn't have that sluggish feeling that I would get after a sandwich. I'm really curious about their traditional rice flour pancakes stuffed with prawn, pork and veggies so that's next on my hit list. The man sitting next to me got a curry which also looked and smelled incredible. The whole bill came to €16 for the starter, main and a drink. I'm so glad I checked it out, I'll definitely be a regular.