Last week I was a very happy coeliac, having been invited to a pre-opening ‘friends and family’ night at the new Pho in Leopold Square. I love Vietnamese food and make a point of going to Pho whenever I can in Manchester. This place is equally great for a quick lunch with a big bowl of noodle broth or a full evening meal.
Best of all, Pho is accredited by Coeliac UK, which means the serving staff and kitchen staff have a really good understanding of gluten-containing ingredients and cross contamination. They don’t need to have separate gluten free menus, because the vast majority of the menu is gluten free. Pretty much the only things that aren’t are the spring rolls and hoisin sauce. So there was plenty to choose from!
We ordered a starter and a main course each. From left to right, what you can see in the pics below are: Nem Nuong, pork and lemongrass meatballs (we got both sauces, nuoc cham and peanut); Muc Chien Gion, fried squid with a salt, pepper and lime dip; and Canh Ga, crispy chicken wings with spicy sriracha dipping sauce.
These were all lovely, but our absolute favourite was this Ban Xeo, which is a savoury Vietnamese crispy crepe, with chicken, prawn, vegetables and hebs. It comes with a dipping sauce and some mini rice papers, so you make individual rolls with pieces of the crispy crepe and filling, then dip them in the sauce. The textures and flavours of this were amazing. Messy though – probably not one for a first date. I had dipping sauce going everywhere!
We had another variety for our main courses. We had a beef brisket Ca-ri, a fragrant Vietnamese curry with veggies and mushrooms (below left), and Pho Xao, wok fried noodles with lemongrass and chilli, which we had with chicken and prawns.
Below left here is Com Tam Rang, which is wok fried rice with chicken and shrimp. This was a bit more spicy than the other dishes, but really authentic tasting. On the right is your classic Pho Chin, beef brisket slow-cooked in broth, with rice noodles and fresh herbs.
We loved all the food. The portions are generous and the flavour and spicing were delicious, and there’s so much more I’d like to try.
While we were finishing our meals, we watched the staff start to prepare the next day’s Pho, in this huge pan in the corner of the restaurant. The photo isn’t mine because my picture was of a less appetising raw piece of beef going into the fresh stock, so they sent me this one, which shows what it looks like a bit later…
All in all, we had a lovely meal. The service was really attentive and the food was wonderful. We left completely stuffed and I am really looking forward to going back very soon!
6 Leopold Square, Sheffield S1 2JG