In contrast to New Saigon, ‘Pho Cyclo’, was very much a Pho destination. Hip, western style, large open space with plenty of kids and a mixed and diverse crowd, ambiance is best described as “courtyard within a café, inside a building on a gentrifying strip” (quite the mouthful).
The menu is based around Pho, but also contains some other rice and noodle dishes. Pho is amusingly categorised between ‘Pho Novice’ and ‘Pho Master’ and the range is significant including vegetarian options. Pho master covers more traditional but less western ingredients e.g. tripe, tendons, fatty flank, while novice is variations of the more ‘comfortable cuts’, brisket, thinly sliced chicken, sausage etc.
On the side was the typical range of sauces; Chilli, Soy, Hoisin and Sambal along with a strange spicy fish sauce which was sweet and red and had plenty of lemongrass in it.
I consider myself a Pho master, but opted for the beef pho with sliced beef and fatty brisket a classic that lends itself to ‘global comparisons’.
The sides where really fresh basil and bean sprouts along with massive Jalapenos, and they were delivered with my Pepsi in a glass along with tea in a metal pot.
The bowl was massive and the meat was plentiful, with spring onion on the topic, rice noodles were thin and almost square. If there is one thing about American restaurants they are generous when it comes to providing quantity, I was please to see this was not at the expense of quality.
The broth was rich and strong in flavour and colour, it’s rare to encounter a such great stock that it doesn’t actually require any additional condiments and sauces to enhance the flavours.
This didn’t unfortunately extend to the vegetarian option, which was fairly weak in flavour but did include mushrooms, oyster mushroom stems, carrot, broccoli and tofu.
Overall an excellent Pho experience, if I was a local I’d be back for sure.
Stock: 5 – Rich stock and no sauces required
Inside: 5 – Generous quantities of meat and decent cut
On the side: 4 – Everything was fresh
Extras: 4 – great space, but poor vegetarian option, good tea