It’s not often that K and I go to Flemington, but when we do we make sure that we get a good fix of authentic Vietnamese food! There was one particular restaurant there that we went to quite frequently, but it had closed down last time we were there.
Unsure of where to go given that our tried-and-true was no more, we went with the tried and true method of going to wherever had the longest queue. Pho Toan Thang was the clear winner, boasting the longest queue in Flemington! Impressively though, the queue moved quickly and we were seated within fifteen minutes.
I always think that the best indication of a quality Vietnamese restaurant is by the condiments that they offer on each table. There was great variety here, with fantastically fresh chillies that add a perfect zing to every meal.
K ordered a classic dish of Beef Pho, with a lovely rich broth and gorgeously thinly sliced pieces of pink beef that slowly cooked through the more they soaked in the broth. The broth was wonderfully rich and flavourful – evidence of the length of time the broth would have been simmering away in a large masterstock pot.
But of course, no bowl of pho is complete without adding your favourite toppings! A healthy serve of bean sprouts and some shredded Vietnamese mint does the job perfectly, adding some crunchy texture and herbed intensity to the noodles.
I order Crispy Chicken with Tomato Rice – one of my favourite and possibly unhealthiest ever dishes. The chicken was fried wonderfully with the skin crunching and crackling every time you took a bite. The tomato fried rice had a fantastic smokey yet sweet flavour to it, with occasionally crispy bits that lent it some interesting texture. An excellent dish overall.
And before we know it, less than half an hour after we sat down, we were up and on our way again, giving our table to yet another of the groups in the never-ending queue.
Overall, I rate Pho Toan Thang an 8 out of 10. The meals are hearty and reliably tasty in a simple home-cooked style, and you can walk away for a meal for two for under $20 in total.