Pho Chu The Victoria Street is one of many places that you can go to if you want a bowl of Pho in this part of town.
Victoria Street in Richmond used to be to go-to spot for quality Vietnamese food in Melbourne, however in recent years the focus has shifted to Footscray. While Victoria Street does still have many Vietnamese restaurants, there are several duds aimed at locals with a not so adventurous pallet. As with streets that become popular over time, there are many claims on the windows of the Vietnamese restaurants of being the “best Vietnamese restaurant on Victoria Street”.
I was in the area with my fiancée on Friday and with an empty fridge, and relatively empty wallets, the option of an affordable Vietnamese meal on Victoria Street was an obvious one. We are both big fans of a proper big bowl of pho. Pho is such a simple dish, yet there are so many flavours and complexities going on in that bowl.
A quick search on one of my favourite food blogs, Mel: Hot Or Not, revealed Pho Chu The to be a good sounding option. A long standing favourite since 1989, frequented by Vietnamese diners, positive reviews from many trusted sources etc.
The menu at Pho Chu The is very small and focused. Spring rolls, rice paper rolls and pho in small, medium or large is what’s on offer. This is generally a good sign – when a restaurant does this it’s because they know what they do well and stick to it, and are confident that they will get enough business to keep going despite having a restricted menu.
The first call of order was to get a cold drink, to help provide relief from the extremely humid and hot weather outside. I went for the “3 Colours Sweet” which is an icy coconut cream drink. There’s no rule as to what the 3 ingredients should be, as long as they are different colours. The version served here contained red (azuki) beans, and two types of thin jelly strands. It was very tasty and refreshing.
We wanted to order rice paper rolls, but accidentally ordered prawn spring rolls instead (the mistake was ours). Luckily, they were really good. The inside was simply prawn, and the pastry was very light and not at all oily.
At $9 for a medium bowl of Pho, Pho Chu The is a great option for an affordable meal. The servings were huge and neither I nor my fiancée could finish our dishes.
I ordered the sliced beef and tendon. It came out with the usual bowl of thai basil, sprouts and lime, and on the table was the usual selection of condiments – a sweet sauce, soy sauce, pickled onions and 3 types of chilli.
The pho was amazing. The noodles were just the right texture, and not too chewy or dougy as can sometimes be the case. The broth was tasty and not overly salted, the beef was tender, and tendon was very gelatinous and soft. Supposedly the broth is left for 12 hours, and I’d be inclined to believe it given the results.
My fiancée had the shredded chicken pho.
Overall, I couldn’t fault Pho Chu The. The staff were friendly, the meals came out quickly, and the food was of top quality. I’m now more excited than ever for my trip to Vietnam in 2 months time.
In addition to the Richmond Branch, there are also branches in Footscray and Box Hill.
Pho Chu The
270 Victoria Street
Telephone: (03) 9428 7797
Mon – Sun: 9am – 10pm