Trinity Kitchen has opened and I’d been very kindly invited by Libby Edwards, Head of Marketing from Pho Restaurant to come and meet Stephen and Jules who’d set up the venture. After a trip to Vietnam 10 years ago they fell in love with the food and saw an opportunity to fill a gap in the UK market, opening London’s first Vietnamese street food restaurant in 2005. Since then, they’ve open Pho in a number of different locations in the South, but this is the first in the North of England. Hopefully this will be the spring board for more restaurants in the future up North.
I’ve only eaten Vietnamese food a few times, a few years ago when Tampopo had a base in Leeds, but most recently in Berlin, where I had a fantastic meal at a great restaurant called Chén Chè Teehaus near Rosenthaler Strasse, so I had an idea of the type of food they might serve here. The Pho team have a real enthusiasm for the food and it really showed, Libby explained their menu and after a chat about my likes and dislikes she selected a range of items for me to try out. After only eating biscuits all day, I was once again looking forward to a good feed. And anyway, I have an excellent excuse (if ever I needed one before), I need to be carb loading for the little matter of running the Yorkshire Marathon on Sunday!!!!
From ordering the food to collecting it took a matter of minutes, it all looked really fresh, healthy and tasty. One of the best things about the layout of this street food restaurant is that you can see your food being prepared and cooked as you wait for it. I thought I’d tuck into the hot dishes first – my Mực chiên giòn (squid) and Phở tôm – traditional Vietnamese noodle soup (which Pho specialise in) with prawns.
Now if you’ve read my blog before, you may already know how much of a squid fan I am. I absolutely love the stuff and this reaffirmed my love for it. Tender and soft, no sign of chewiness, crisp tentacles and with its light, crisp coating had a good mix of textures. Libby said that the dip that accompanies it (a mixture of salt, pepper, chilli, sugar and lime dip) really brings it alive. So listening to the advice from someone in the know, I duly followed her advice and went for it. Oh, she was so right, the dip was fantastic, smacking the senses with sweet, salty, sour and heat all in one hit and were an excellent addition to the squid.
My bowl of steaming hot Vietnamese noodles was light, with a really fresh flavoured stock, the prawns had that barely opaque appearance showing they were perfectly cooked, juicy and plump. I am also a MASSIVE fan of rice noodles and have worked my way through many plates of the stuff, so I know that on their own they have a neutral flavour, making them an excellent vehicle for taking on other flavours. This is where the accompanying herbs play their part – red chilli, fresh mint, thai basil and coriander all add another dimension to the dish as a whole. When drinking the soup stock you really get a hit of all of these and I personally couldn’t get enough of it. My chicken summer rolls (sorry no picture as I accidentally deleted it, oops) were light, the chicken was juicy and moist and all its partners in crime, the pickle and herbs kept it a very fresh snack with lots of texture from the crisp veg. With the dips of hoisin, peanut and fish sauce, there was plenty to keep it interesting and tasty.
All in all it was a healthy, filling meal with quick service. Lots of choice for carnivores and non-meat eaters alike. Next time I’d love to try the wok fried noodles Phở xào with chicken & prawn.
In terms of prices the sides, starters and salads range from £3.95 – £6.45, whereas noodles or rice dishes are between £5.75 – £8.25. They also have a Pho to go menu too.
Even though I’d been invited to Pho and did not pay for my meal this time, the next time I visit I will be more than happy to pay for it!! I definitely recommend it.
Food: Fresh flavour, well cooked.
Service: Brisk, staff friendly (even though it must have been a very long and busy first day).Pho TK1 Trinity Kitchen Trinity Leeds Albion Street Leeds LS1 5AY