It's literally 30 steps away from Hauz Khas Village parking lot. You cross the fence and it's there on your right. Yes, it's Pho King right there (I promise this pun is the last one). Who knew a dingy entrance, somewhat typical of most Hauz Khas restaurants and cafes, would bring us to a space that's cute as a button.
Barely a month-old, this Pho King establishment in Hauz Khas Village is here with interior decor that looks like it could have been inspired from the sets of the musical Mama Mia! Not that anyone's complaining and also because the movie was the first thing that came to mind when I saw the interiors bathed in pastel shades. Blue wooden doors, pretty green chairs, white trellis, low hanging lights that had a D.I.Y feel to it and faux creepers all around us. In my head it was a Greek summer evening with a bowl of piping hot Vietnamese pho.
Pho King, a multi-cuisine restaurant chain has now three outlets in Delhi/NCR—Saket (Champa Gali), Hauz Khas Village and Gurgaon. And we have heard delicious stories about Pho King Saket (2017). Pho King has an interesting menu that includes the best of Pan Asian cuisine, Mexican and Indian. We decided to go with the name and concentrated on things Vietnamese.
Pho, the very popular Vietnamese soup was our obvious first for the evening. The one with chicken was okay; the vegetarian one won that first round. A delicious piping hot mix of clear broth with a generous serving of vegetables and pho noodles. Shitake mushroom does make everything good. If you are a pho-virgin, and think that the soup will be too bland for your taste, just hit your soup with a dash of fried chili-garlic chutney. A teaspoon of that for a bowl of 'bland' soup should be just fine. A big ups for pho.
Vietnamese rice paper roll with a stuffing of vermicelli noodles, coriander, carrot, cucumber pickle and your choice of meat or tofu was our next. The cold rice paper roll was quite a contrast to the hot soup we previously had. Cold and crunchy that it was, it became our instant favourite; the peanut dipping sauce was a hit too. Ask the little bowl that got polished immediately.
Dimsum...always a favourite, is something one must try here. We decided to go for the humble Veg Chive dimsum. It was anything but humble. One bite of the soft dimsum with a filling of celery, carrot, water chestnut, lotus root and chives gave a huge burst of flavour. Also, do try one with the good old fried chili-garlic chutney. Those delicious dimsums left us wanting for more and so next we tried Braised Tofu & Aubergine—a dish of aubergine, silken tofu, water chestnut, shitake and pickled vegetables in black bean sauce. The dish didn't win our hearts and was forgotten as soon as our next order of Nasi Goreng appeared. Though they could have gone a bit easy on the oil (do tell the chef your preference with regards to oil and salt), we liked the dish a lot. Perfect poached egg on a bed of traditional Malay fried rice and a side of prawn crackers and chicken.
No Indian main course was touched that day. Vietnamese cuisine didn't disappoint us that day (except for the brinjal-tofu duo) and that brought us near to the end of the meal. Anyone up for dessert? Get yourself an order of apple cinnamon roll and don't worry about it. The sweetness of the dessert was beautifully mellow, unlike the very sweet honey noodles. Yes, it was exactly that—fried flat noodles dipped in sticky coat of honey. Perhaps it's an acquired taste.
**Veg Chive Dimsum
**Nasi Goreng (non veg)
Where: Pho King, Hauz Khas Village
Hours: 12noon to 11pm