G/F Serendra, Bonifacio Global City
Tel. No. 843-0820
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
(SPOT.ph) Vietnamese cuisine has been standing in the sidelines for years, never quite gaining the global popularity of other Asian fare. Until now. Vietnamese-Chinese celebrity restaurateur Bobby Chinn opened House of Ho in Soho, London. There's been an influx of Vietnamese joints in Australian suburbs while chefs in India have reportedly been trying to infuse the flavors with their own. In Manila, P.H.A.T. Pho: A Vietnamese Kitchen is the latest example of this emerging culinary trend.
Developed by the Abaca Group, P.H.A.T. Pho is a popular concept from Cebu brought to Manila by The Moment Group, the same company behind 'Cue Modern Barbecue, BurgerBar, 8Cuts, and NamNam. Their partnership just fell into place. "Jason Hyatt who owns Abaca is a good friend and had just opened this," recounts Abba Napa, one-third of Moment’s dynamic trio. "We stopped by for lunch and just fell in love with it...The price points are great. And there is something for everybody. We wanted this in our own backyard. And it's a good thing Jason felt the same way."
This classic Bahn Mi has an extra layer of homemade chicken pate to make it richer.
From its corner in Serendra, P.H.A.T. Pho teases customers with its bright red façade and casual air. Space is tight-"It's a joint!" exclaims Napa-which makes it easier for the open kitchen to engulf the place in mouthwatering smells. Décor is kept minimal to draw even more attention to the food-which is exactly where it should be. P.H.A.T. Pho pays particular attention to flavors and theirs are quite prominent compared to other Vietnamese restaurants.
"It's more like an amplified version of the delicate Vietnamese flavor profile and I think that really works for us," says Napa. "It's very malinamnam. It definitely respects all the different dishes of the cuisine but I find that the flavors are slightly richer."
The Grilled Meatball Noodle Bowl/Bun (P210/small, P350/large) delightfully overwhelms the palate with its medley of colors, flavors, and textures. Pickled vegetables, crushed peanuts, fried shallots, cucumbers, and fresh greens are piled over cold vermicelli noodles, and made heartier by grilled meatballs, fried spring rolls, and slices of homemade Vietnamese sausage. Toss everything with the sweet-salty dressing and you'll end up with a refreshing salad-esque noodle dish that by itself can successfully have you addicted to P.H.A.T. Pho.
But try the rest of the menu. A nice deviation from tradition is the Rice Paper Rolls/ Goi Cuon, which comes in three varieties: chilled shrimp (P195), roasted pork (P175), and marinated tofu (P165). The freshness in each bite is punctuated by the savory protein. The Crispy Egg Rolls (P120/ three pieces) are stuffed to the bursting, and different satays (Angus beef, chicken, and pork belly), delectable as they are, demand for rice-a demand the Com Chien (P295), fried rice with chicken and prawns, spiced with a peanut sauce, satisfies.
Bun Bo Hue
The pho though-Pretty, Hot, And Tasty-is the scene stealer, especially the Bun Bo Hue (P225/small, P395/large) and Pho Special (P225/small, P395/large). The latter has shaved US Angus beef, braised beef, meatball, tendon, herbs, bean sprouts, shaved onions, and a beef-based broth that create that rich profile you'd want to sip-maybe slurp-to the last drop. The Bun Bo Hue, on the other hand, has pork knuckle, braised beef, and tendon swimming in a pork and beef-based broth. The color and the specks of red chili should be enough of an indication that it's spicy, but you can tone down the heat with condiments like lime juice, pickled garlic, or hoisin sauce. Vietnamese food is noticeably lighter-you'll notice after a feast at P.H.A.T. Pho, feeling a good kind of full.
P.H.A.T. Pho will be open to the public starting February 12.