It’s Chriiiiiistmas! And what better way to celebrate the run up to Christmas than indulging in a bit of a Christmas menu in Manchester?
With Manchester being my home town, it’s a no brainer for me to head to the bustling city and find a restaurant there to dine with my friends. However, if you’re not from Manchester yet are coming to the city, I would always recommend checking our the Corn Exchange, purely for the fabulous array of eateries
In the Corn Exchange lives Pho – a Vietnamese restaurant specialising in noodles, rice dishes and hearty curries.
For Christmas 2019, Pho has a special Christmas set menu, where 2 courses are £14.95, or 3 courses at £18.95. They’ll even decorate your table with some fancy Christmas inspired decorations, to get you and your buddies in the party season mood!
I came here on a Sunday lunch time with 3 of my best friends for a much needed pre-Christmas catch up. None of us are vegan, however the beauty of Pho is that they offer this set menu to those who are, or need a gluten free menu. You can see both options above and below.
The special vegan set menu is made up of some of their most popular vegan dishes from the main menu. Although I’m not vegan, I was highly tempted to opt for this!
Both of the menus are nearly entirely gluten free too (I would double check first) so Pho have really focused on having something for everyone!
As the Christmas menus are available from 25th November – 24th December, I thought I’d get my review in now…
Before I share the food we all indulged in, just a little heads up. Don’t expect to come here for a rendition of your turkey, cranberry and roast potato mixed main dish. This is Pho, an authetic Vietnamese eatery, so expect a twist on middle eastern food.
We decided to all aim to share each other’s dishes, although we need tend to choose the same between the 4 of us on some of the courses as they were just too damn tempting. The dishes are fairly large portion sizes though, so do prepare to share if you like (and you get some side dishes too making it a real feast!).
We ordered a round of fresh juices first, mine being the carrot one in a bid to get some nutrients down me (I did then go on to have a house white wine, which comes in traditional rounded beaker style glasses instead of the usual wine glasses).
As I enjoyed my fresh smoothie, we all shared prawn crackers with a sweet chilli style dip before ordering our starters, mains and desserts.
Between the 4 of us, we ordered an array of Nem nướng: homemade pork & lemongrass meatballs, Cánh gà: seasoned, crispy chicken wings served with sriracha, Gỏi cuốn: fresh rice paper summer rolls and the Chả giò: crispy spring rolls.
My order was the fresh rice paper summer rolls, which are the lightest version from the starters. The paper rolls are extremly thin, but sturdy enough to hold in the bulging veggies!
Taste wise, the crispy chicken wings potentially had that more-ish vibe, but I would go for the spring rolls time and time again purely for the satay dip that comes with them!
Perfect size portions, mainly on the large side, which is always a plus.
For the mains, we split ourselves in two’s, with two opting for the Phở Xào: wok fried noodles with lemongrass, chilli & Asian greens, served with peanuts & nước chấm, and two of us went for the Cà-ri: rich, fragrant Vietnamese curry with veggies & mushrooms, topped with nuts & served with broken rice. I went for Tofu on the Ca-ri, where as the others chose chicken.
I’ll start by saying that I can’t fault the Ca-ri with Tofu, and it is definitley up there as one of the most wholesome, warming and delicious curries I’ve had. It’s got a mixed taste of traditional thai spices with a Vietnamese kick in my opinion, spicy enough to give it that touch of heat, but mild enough to gobble it down. It’s thick, creamy and rich, with large chunks of soft tofu. Yes yes yes to this dish.
The noodle dishes came in great portion sizes with succulent chicken and prawns, but perhaps lacked a little flavour in my opinion. I choose to come to Vietnamese, Thai or any oriental eatery for the flavours, textures and spices, so although my guests loved this dish and it’s potentially one of the healthier options, I’d always point to the curry.
There isn’t an extensive array of desserts on the set menu but for quite good reason: the 4 they offer are decent enough and in-keeping with the Vietnamese Christmas set menu theme. I mean, they offer a banana fritter, which was so much bigger and filling than I expected! I paired it with coconut ice cream and it was pretty close to heaven in a bowl.
It’s gotta be a little bit healthy if there is fruit included – right?
Thank you Pho for hosting myself and my 3 friends for our girly Christmas catch up. Lovely authentic food, a buzzing vibe and great service. I’ll be back for sure…