Phö arrived in Exeter a few weeks back & they kindly asked Harry & I to pop along (they also insisted Elliot join us, since he’s incredibly worldly and has a very discerning palate). Named after the traditional broth led bowl of slurpy goodness, Phö (pronounced “fuh”) champions Vietnamese Street food. With an impressive 27 sites over the uk (firmly sat in the “chain” category) we we’re keen to find out what this place had to offer.
Situated in the Guildhall shopping center, sat between check in/check out chain restaurants. Surrounded by burgers, falafel, jerk chicken & buffalo chicken wings. Phö has no problem with foot fall and with a menu that inspires interest, an edible adventure, a chance to try something a little different. While at the same time, serving up that feeling of safety that washes over you when you read the words “crispy spring rolls” & “dipping sauce” – although they are a far cry from the mini cardboard morsels we are used to. Vibrant with fresh herbs, crispy, salty, hot, sour, sweet…Phö gives diners the chance to experience a wide range of textures, flavours and ingredients from a varied, reasonably priced menu.
Hmmmm “reasonably priced menu” those words are often place before descriptions of “nice” food or “value for money” that for me often means “don’t expect much, it’s a chain restaurant – basically you get what you pay for”. The sentence that’s the mark of a giant food snob. The type of person that would walk across town, despite my hunger, rather than spend my money in a sparkly, wipe clean chain. I mean, why? Why spend your money on something soulless, that lines the pockets of investors that would never in a million years eat there. After all, we only get so many meals in this life, so make them count.
Well, sometimes the experience gives you just what you want and this food is far from soulless. Plus the team that introduced us to everting Phö, were nothing short of wonderful. Knowledgeable, enthusiastic & massive foodies (Chloe I’m taking about you – you rock!).
So, as my photos confirm, we had a blast!
We loved the nem hai sãn (prawn, crab & pork spring rolls wrapped in lettuce). It had freshness, it was aromatic, juicy, crunchy…incredibly moorish! I could eat a million of them unapologetically.
Could have eaten rau muõng xào (morning glory stir fried with garlic) all the live long day. Salty, bitter, crunchy – hear the battle cry, Unami! Just wonderful.
Along with Phö däc biêt & king Prawn Cá-ri – I’ll leave you to check out the menu and hunt them down & translate. C’mon, you’re going to have to click the link! It’s worth it.
We absolutely loved our meal. But would we return? Phö-sure we would! (Sorry had to). Looks great inside, comfortable, outside seating, delicious….reasonable (ha ha ha there I said it). Also, I’m a bit of a grazer, a long day eater, pop in here and there, diner. So, stopping off at Phö for a couple of starters or sides, before moving on for another crunch, will certainly fit nicely on my map to a foodie ramble.
Welcome to Devon, Phö.