Vietnamese Pho, dessert & shopping

Wednesday 28 January 2015
spring roll
mama pho - pho1

Once upon a time.......actually nearly 7 years ago when we landed on the British shores, we met up with fellow Kiwi contingent fairly regularly. As we were the only ones with a child, it was easier to navigate through the convoluted schedules that everyone had. And then kids happened. There was a sudden baby boom (have you ever noticed that when one friend gets pregnant, pretty much the entire group race to get their bun in the oven???) and then life became even more complicated. Before we realized, nearly 15 months had flashed past before we even spoke to each other.

We had a chance to catch up in the Cutty Sark area. Rather than rushing about in the cold, we decided to nip into the small Vietnamese joint - Mama Pho in Deptford. It's the kind of eatery that I love. Unpretentious, authentic and affordable mom and pop restaurant.  It belongs to the same family who runs the popular Cafe East near Canada Water (or Surrey Quays) tube station. Everything on the menu is priced at well under £9.

chickensoup with beef
beef pho
all dishes

I'm not sure whether they thought I was some kind of important food critic or blogger I started taking photos of my dessert drink, one of their staff dashed over and grabbed the two glasses stating that they "didn't finish making it". I could be wrong but all they did was dumped more ice and water which made the drink tasted rather bland. Crunching through globs of half melted ice cubes wasn't all that pleasant either.

The thin and crispy fried spring roll was lip smacking delicious. Heck, anything fried tastes incredible these days. My beef pho was good. Not exactly.... I-have-to-eat-this-again-or-I-will-die good but their dishes are pretty darned scrummy for those who're craving Vietnamese fare in London.


Our friends recommended Jamie's Italian restaurant for dessert. Both the tangy pineapple with frozen yoghurt and epic brownie were a hit with the kids. Surprise. Surprise. You never have to force your kids to eat desserts. I have had my fair share of brownies and make my own too. These ones were surprisingly tasty and not overly sweet like many that are sold in bakeries.

2015-01-25 10.37.20 1
Outfit: Isabel Marant Lexy jacket (similar), Alexander Wang t-shirt, Hermes belt, Zara jeans, Tophop ankle boots, Johnstons of Elgin cashmere scarf, Hermes watch.

Don't you just love the wide angle lens on smartphones? They make your legs longer and skinnier than they actually are. The grainy shots wiped out all my wrinkles too. Yay! I visited Fenwick for the first time ever to catch up with another friend and client. I was tempted by the much reduced lilac Markus Lupfer sweater (hanging by the wall) but decided I'm far FAR more comfortable in Uniqlo cotton cashmere sweaters. They're remarkably soft and so affordable (£24.95!!). I prefer the slouchy look and ended up with an XL because I like the longer length. It hides the muffin top especially when I've had a dessert....or two.

Mama Pho
24a Evelyn St
Tube: Surrey Quays

Jamie's Italian
17-19 Nelson Rd
SE10 9JB
Tube: Cutty Sark (DLR)


  1. Thanks for the review of Mama Pho, it's not far from me. What is the huge plate of meat? Used to go to a banh mi place in Deptford, Panda Panda, but it went downhill. Which Jamie's did you go to?

    I cannot believe you got an XL in Uniqlo, what hope is there for the rest of us?! Eeek.

    1. LOLOLOL! I prefer the super slouchy look. Funnily enough, the Uniqlo XL fits just like the Markus Lupfer in S. We went to the Jamie's at Cutty Sark. As for the meat, it was enough. They're not overly generous like the guys at Pho 14 (Paris) but they're tons better than the Vietnamese place here in Winchester.

  2. Marlene,
    What smart phone are you using now?

    1. I've got an old cranky phone. It's Samsung Galaxy Note 1 (currently 4th generation phones on sale in stores).

  3. I've never eaten vietnamese food. What would you recommend an absolute beginner to order? (I hate fish sauce if that makes a difference). Thanks for the interesting and varied blog. Cx

    1. Thank you for the lovely compliment! I tend to order the same favorites. I was told by my Vietnamese friends that the spring roll was to be eaten with lettuce, mint and sauce. I love their jelly/red bean/coconut milk dessert drink which is very similar to the ones I used to have growing up in Borneo. The rice vermicelli with sauce on the side is great in summer or for those who do not like soup dishes. I personally tend to go for rare beef pho (pronounced fuh with the third tone like in Mandarin). I pile on the bean sprouts, chillies, culantro (slightly different from the usual cilantro/coriander) and lime.

      The pork steak marinated in lemon grass and then grilled is fabulous. These tend to be the usual offerings at most Vietnamese restaurants.

    2. Thank you so much, that sounds gorgeous. I have been to Brunei a few times, I did enjoy a lot of the food. I've made a note of your suggestions! :)

    3. You're most welcome! If you ever get the chance to visit Borneo again, pop by Sarawak and Sabah. It's very diverse and exotic. But then again I'm rather bias as I grew up in Sarawak ;)

  4. I didn't know there was a wide angle lens on smartphones! Doh! And you got an XL in the Uniqlo? I think I'm doing slouchy when I get a medium and I know you're tiny!

    1. The cameras on all the smartphones have wide angle lens ;) Medium's way too short on me. I prefer the hem to be hip length. It's interesting to see that Uniqlo's jumpers have narrow armholes. No different to Markus Lupfer's except I wear a S.

  5. All looks delicious and I must admit to being a sucker for a Jamie's dessert esp the chocolate brownies and popcorn...heaven. I keep forgetting about uniqlo, I need a lilac sweater so will pop there tomorrow. You look fab as ever x.

  6. You will pass as a great food critic Marlene. What a lovely outfit shot you've got and damn you look so fresh and young! This only reminds me that you keep an eye on your new year wardrobe solution and make the streets of London your runway. Keep the photos coming!


    1. Angie, you're a sweetheart! I've been told that I'm an incredibly fussy eater. I've got to stop analyzing everything that goes into my mouth. wrinkles....notice the grainy photo? Makes ALL the difference in the world.



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