The secret to Phomo's undeniably delicious pho? It's all in the broth.
It took a while, but we have now been officially seduced by the purity and flavour of Vietnamese food, as it finally steps out of the shadows of longer established Asian cuisines.
Anyone that’s enjoyed a culinary taste of Vietnam would almost certainly know pho (pronounced “fer”), a rice noodle soup served with herbs and meat, and anyone that knows pho knows it’s all about the broth.
Surprisingly, it’s a fairly modern dish in terms of Vietnamese history, originating in the north in the early 1900s. It had humble (and bland) beginnings, picking up complexity, spice and variations as it migrated to the south of the country at the peak of the Civil War.
The dish itself is made up of only a few simple ingredients - linguine shaped rice noodles, beef or chicken, fresh bean sprouts and a small selection of herbs - all a benign supporting cast to the true plot of the dish, the simmering broth. This is the delicious, delicate, complex heart of the dish, brought to life over many long hours, and where the reputations of its maker are made.
For Phomo’s head chef Sonny Nguyen, pho is the very symbol of Vietnamese identity. So it goes without saying he treats his 12-hour beef broth recipe with very deep respect (and guards it with an ‘I could tell you but I’d have to kill you’ level of secrecy). There are no less than six pho options on the menu, with Rare Beef Wagyu Pho being the unmistakable highlight.
However, Phomo is no one-trick pony. A Viet tapas menu, featuring a combination of bite-sized classics and modern innovations on Vietnamese fare is a perfect way to sample the variety of Vietnamese cuisine, and the culinary prowess of Mr Nguyen - the Viet style salt and pepper quail, prawns wrapped in crispy pumpkin, and steamed beef pho rolls are all must-try, and go nicely with a glass of Saigon lager.
Being located in full view of the water on the Barangaroo foreshore is a joyful reminder of the harbour cites of Vietnamese coastline . We’re all so much richer for him making the journey to Australian shores to share his heritage and extraordinary cooking.
Phomo is now open on Wulugul Walk, 7 days a week.