Monday, 30 April 2012

Pho Chu The

270 Victoria St
Richmond, VIC 3121

I’m confused. I was told by Jeff a while back to eat at Pho Chu The, except according to my blog, I already have. Not at THE Pho Chu The though, but at I Love Pho 264 a couple of doors down, which is where Pho Chu The had relocated to the prior September. But the old Pho Chu The is still there, except it’s not the old Pho Chu The, which has relocated, but a new Pho Chu The run by different people in the same location as the old Pho Chu The. Like I said, it’s confusing. In a nutshell, we’re eating at the new Pho Chu The in the old location, not the old Pho Chu The relocated and renamed I Love Pho 264. I think. 

This place is rather pleasant; full of natural light with none of that fluorescent lighting and grubby floors business. Nice and quiet too, but not because there are no patrons; rather, it’s because everyone is too busy bent over their bowls of pho, which must be a good sign.

Because pho is the only thing on their menu, aside from the requisite spring rolls, rice paper rolls, and colourful drinks, each table automatically gets given a plate of sprouts, basil, and lemon. I was impressed with how clean and fresh the vegetables were; they’re possibly the best I’ve seen. Also on each table is a wide selection of sauces and condiments to season your pho with. A little jar of red onion is a welcome addition to the standard chillies and sauces.

Small Chicken Fillet Pho ($8)
Devastated that there weren’t any non-pho mains, Chris had to make do with a bowl of Small Chicken Fillet Pho ($8). The chicken soup is clear and delicate, flavoured with lemongrass and ginger. Slivers of chicken fillet tastes like they’ve been poaching for hours and hours. Sure, nothing beats the intense fragrance of a good beef stock, but this is certainly not a poor substitute.

Small Special Beef Pho ($8)
Small Special Beef Pho ($8)
It finally happened. I finally found the perfect bowl of Small Special Beef Pho ($8). The flavours of the soup were deep and rich, the generous serving of rare beef and offal were lean and flawless, the noodles were slippery soft with the perfect amount of bite, and even the thinly sliced onions and herbs on top were crisp and fragrant. There was absolutely nothing negative I could say about it. I might even ignore common sense next time and order a medium sized bowl.

Pho Chu The really is a cut above every pho place I’ve been to so far, in every aspect – cleanliness, service, and of course the food. The staff even had these adorable shirts that say ‘What the Pho?’ on the back. I’ll be returning for a plate of their supposedly amazing spring rolls and three coloured drinks. 

Rating: 15/20 – what the pho?


  1. This place has got the best PHO ever. The owner's name is THE which derived from pho chu THE which translates into Uncle The's Noodle Soup. Uncle The was and still IS the original chef since 1989. I love pho paid for a franchise which ended because of breach of franchise agreement at the end of 2011. I love pho then claimed that they are the original recipes holder which as far as my taste buds go, their taste of PHO doesn't agree with their statement.

    I for one was going to I love pho ever since they opened and my family was one of their die hard fans but my parents told me to try PHO CHU THE and we can honestly say that, we are staying for good.

    My experience was very delightful. The pho that they serve are really fresh and fragrant. The salads are great and their spring rolls are one of a kind. The place has got this modern and clean feeling without sacrificing the authenticity of what a pho should taste like. One little thing that I thought can be improved is to put more forks on each table. I've got no trouble of using chopsticks but my two sons were having problems with it (we are caucasians with asian hearts) nonetheless the waiter was pretty quick to fetch us a couple of forks. Other than that, I reckon people should just give this place a chance.

    Amanda Wellington (mother of two picky sons)

    1. Wow I never knew that little bit of back story, thanks for letting me know, it's rather interesting. I agree, the service and decor is quite lovely, and it's great to hear that the spring rolls are fabulous - there's no harsher critic than a couple of picky kids! :p

    2. Interesting account of things. Go figure. Pretty sad how word of mouth is more prominent than actual fact.

      The so called "breach of franchise agreement" for example is a bit hard to believe considering the business was never in a franchise contract. The current owners simply bought the name back because the actual people that ran it moved a few doors down and called it I Love Pho 264. They even showed me the paperwork to prove it.

      There has been quite a lot of fraud with these 2 shops especially with the actual account of what happened, which is why I personally won't believe anything until some sort of evidence is present, and so far only one party has provided it.

      Regardless of how the food is, bad business ethics really changes the picture.

  2. Love what you did about the page sweet and sour fork. Could not care less about what happened between 264 and 270. I have never eaten noodle soup as nice as this particular shop. Fanatics for 264 before we stumbled upon Pho Chu The. Good service and definitely recommended be it for 2 or more. Been searching for the holy grail and pho chu the is my choice!!! Please have some vietnamese rice dishes!! We love you PHO CHU THE!!!!

    1. Amen to that; I'll start fussing when they stop serving their pho :p