Neighbourhood: West End, Osborne, Downtown, Tuxedo
Address: 5 – 794 Sargent Ave
Entrees: $7 – $11
Vietnamese noodle joints are wildly popular right now, and one might be right to credit Pho Hoang for their new elevated status. This 11 year old local chainlet has stylishly swooped in to three more neighbourhoods in the last couple years, changing the scene for Vietnamese cuisine.
Upon entering the original locale, its interior makeover is transformative. From bold graphic floor tile and neon lit signage displaying playful messages like “good pho the soul” to a painted peacock covering an entire wall, it is clear the Hoang family is waging to win affection from stylish diners. Crayon coloured silk lanterns and a display of traditional blue and white porcelain vases clinch the cultural nod. Newer locations are distinctly modern too hinting at the fresh dining experience that awaits.
This buzzy eatery named for the signature soup of Vietnam is all about its broth. Beef and oxtail bone broth is made daily and is the basis for its devout following. The intense depth and meaty flavour of the dark broth is the result of the kitchen’s dedication to tradition, ensuring at least 24 hours of simmering.
The delicious star anise spiked stock is used throughout the menu, for the pho naturally, and iterations of noodle soups made with different combinations of meat, seafood, vegetables and flavour boosting herbs. Any one of these is a full feast.
Though soups may be the original drawing card of this place, the menu reflects an embarrassment of riches. Fresh lotus root salad whets the appetite with its tangy bites of the shredded root mixed with cucumbers and carrots.
Sweet potato and shrimp crepes are latke-like ultra crisp fritters boosting both sweet ingredients to delectable new stature. Soft rice paper roll-ups of salad fixings; Thai basil, lettuce, bean sprouts, carrots, cukes and noodles, make plump fresh salad rolls. ‘Wrap your own’ platters are party pleasers.
Perfectly seared and charcoal kissed meats are reason enough to seek out Vietnamese fare. Here, barbequed short ribs, grilled pork and lemongrass chicken shouldn’t be missed.
On the drinks side of Pho Hoang, non-alcoholic beverages take a front seat. Bubble teas, including some fresh fruit flavours delight. Fresh lime-ade, consisting of fresh lime, sugar and sparkling water is a refreshing hit.
Pho Hoang Sargent is open Sun-Thurs 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10pm. Hours may vary at other locations.