Now I think being labelled as the 'foodie' sometimes makes people a little shy or intimidated to make suggestions to me…but how far from the truth could that be! I absolutely love recommendations, especially if I may not have considered the recommended place previously…which happens quite a lot with Melbourne being the glorious food mecca that it is, it can get easy to get caught up in the shiny of all the new places in particular...
But alas, recommendations from friends not in the food blogging circle tend to be quite few and far between.
Pho Nam was enthusiastically recommended to me by two of Brad's colleagues, at two separate occasions via Facebook, with a spray of smiley faces. Well there was no two buts about it, I knew I needed to visit, lickity split!
So during December, when I barely had a spare meal free and therefore was not seeing a lot of Brad (bad girlfriend, I know), I put a lunchtime aside, met Brad at his office and strolled across the road to Pho Nam.
A small and simple shopfront, with only a couple of benches and little tables down the sides, there is an immediate sense of charm with the simple decor. A hat here, a photo there.
The shop is run by a very attentive and hardworking chef and waiter all in one, who immediately recognises Brad and promptly asks if he wants a coffee.
And when I say coffee, I mean a real Vietnamese coffee that's dripped through, with condensed milk, mixed all together and then chucked in to a glass full of ice. Hey, it was hot. Ice coffee it was.
It was so aromatic, immediately bringing back memories of our time in Vietnam together, where I would take little sips of all of Brad's coffees.
I wanted rice paper rolls, no two buts about it, so we got a serve of prawn rice paper rolls. Fresh, clean, with some crunch from veggies, it was all good.
Brad got the beef pho, free from MSG. One sip of the soup and I wished I had ordered what he had instead. Rich and full of flavour, with lovely slippery noodles. I'm not a pho expert, but I did enjoy this.
Me, being me, forgot exactly what I ordered, as I'm not so familiar with Vietnamese dishes. Although it's essentially vermicelli noodles (dry, no soup), with plenty of veggies, some spring rolls and fish sauce on the side to pour over.
It was perfect on the hot day that it was, fresh and kinda cool, although I probably should have asked for a little more sauce to poor over it. Loved, loved, loved the crunchy spring rolls though!
After, because I clearly wasn't full enough from noodles, I ordered the coconut and mint (I think) iced drink. So, so, so, so perfect in the hot weather. And so reasonably priced.
In fact, for the quality of food you're getting, and the amount, it's all pretty good value. I think our whole meal cost around $30, and I was rolling out the door!
The stretch of Burwood Road next to Swinburne University does tend to be a little bit neglected, Brad always observing the restaurants close down, move out and to just be replaced by another, a continuous cycle.
But with fresh, healthy and authentic (to the best of my knowledge) Vietnamese food, at a darned good price, I certainly hope that Pho Nam stick around for a while and is worth a visit if you're in the area, or don't mind going a little bit out of your way…
395 Burwood Road
Hawthorn 3122, Vic
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