I like pho. Well, I like bowls. Bowls make it easy to eat. There’s less spillage, soup is contained, and you only need one utensil, thus saving on washing dishes. Pho is one of those throw it all in dishes that is instant comfort, but in reality takes almost 24 hours to make.
Much like Japanese ramen, pho is a seemingly simple amalgamation of flavors that people rarely make as good at home as they get in specialty places. Those that prepare their broth for almost a day, boiling soup bones, mixing flavors, intermingling subtle flavors to come up with this soothing yet exciting dish, that no ready made bouillon can fake.
My boyfriend is a pho enthusiast. I say this as there are too little places to get it in Manila, and the quality is okay at best. Chain pho places get the meat wrong, or the broth blah, or offer too little condiments, which is part of the essentials of pho, making it your own. His memories of pho goodness come from his hometown that offered a lot of pho places, which were apparently perfect for college post drinking binges, and will cure a hangover of any proportion. I like pho, but was, and still am, limited to the choices of Manila’s unexcited offerings of Vietnamese broth, and was frustrated at not being able to share in the fanaticism of a good bowl of noodles that he craves for every so often.
So when we read about P.H.A.T Pho in the Cebu Pacific in flight magazine on the way back from a trip, we knew we had to go. Even if we are fairly limited to our nooks in the North and East (I like to think, Winterfell and Dorne, I KID) since we’re not much to go South, this sudden, next day trip to just have food was, a journey to good food.
And it proved a good one. When we walked into the joint, it was really nice. Quiet, as it was around 2:30 pm post lunch rush on a Saturday. The walls were chalkboard black and offered how-tos on how to perfectly season your pho bowl. Red chairs, black and red chopsticks, and open kitchen, it was casual, hip and comfortable.
Now let’s talk about the pho. Broth was perfect. Flavorful but still enough of a canvas for us to add our own mix of hoisin, lime and sriracha. Little caveat, the beginning serving platter of flavoring sauces was a little too sparse for us, as we mix in hoisin and sriracha,Â and have a separate dipping bowl of the stuff for the meat. But kudos to the servers who didn’t flinch when we asked for more. And the meat? So good. The menu stated it was US Angus beef, meatballs, tendon, all good for me. I like the differences in texture in each one, and I am not one to shy away from tendon, and this one was almost buttery in its softness. The beef, really fresh, put it in a class in above all the other pho bowls we’ve had over the city.
Verdict: A return item.Â We didn’t try anything else, but from one bowl, we are fans. Phat Pho, expect us back, especially in this rainy, cool weather.
You can get your pho fix at Phat Pho:
Mon – Sun:Â 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
G/F Serendra, Bonifacio Global City