Imagine slurping noodles swimming in a rich, tasty broth, accompanied by buttery tender slices of beef and topped with crunchy beansprouts and fresh herbs. Pho (pronounced fur) definitely is, one of the most comforting, nourishing and satisfying meals, perfect for filling the tummy, and soothing the soul.
Victoria Street in Richmond is jam-packed with Vietnamese eateries. I Love Pho 264 has always been a favourite, and when I found out that the business is run by the family of a pal, 264 became my one and only destination for a hit of Vietnamese noodle soup.
The pho at 264 is “pho” real. The stock is made by simmering beef bones and spices, including cinnamon and star anise, over a very long period of time. A generous portion of sliced good quality beef is added and a serve of fresh beansprouts, basil and lime (not lemon) is presented. Other options such as beef balls, brisket and offal can also be combined. A vegetarian version is available, where the soup is made with vegetable stock and the flat white rice noodles come with bokchoy, carrots and tofu.
Noodles aren’t the only thing you can order at 264. The deep-fried spring rolls are delicious, and the healthier Vietnamese spring rolls are made to order and are perfect as an entrée, or even as a meal on their own. One of the specials, Bo Kao, is my absolute must-have: the rich tomato stew, the soft chunks of carrot and the cubes of tender beef, make a true heartwarming dish.
I visited one evening with my real boyfriend, The Angmoh, and my fake boyfriend, Fakeboo, with the real dude sporting his ‘i-pho’ T-shirt. We did a little “Goldilocks” by ordering a large, a medium and a small. Unlike the situation in the fairy tale, all 3 bowls of noodles came out perfectly hot, and we dug in and lapped up every ounce of beefy soupy goodness.
I have always enjoyed every meal I’ve had at I Love Pho 264. I even make it a point to bring friends and family to this restaurant when they are in Melbourne for a holiday. I Love Pho 264… I Love you, “Pho”-ever.