Pho is a Vietnamese street food chain that was started by a UK husband and wife team who fell in love with the food while travelling in Vietnam.
The food is simple, clean and fresh and although it has always had many gluten free options, they have now been accredited by Coeliac UK and the menu is almost completely gluten free. My visits (pre accreditation) have all been wonderful meals and I recommend you pay them a visit!
Feb 2017 update – accreditation is currently suspended due to supplier issues, but there are still some gluten free options.
You can eat in at one of their 17 locations (see end of post), or order takeaway for collection or delivery by Deliveroo through Pho to Go.
What’s on the Pho gluten free menu?
The restaurant namesake Phở is described as a Vietnamese national dish. It is a rice noodle soup, and can include either meat or vegetarian options. You will also find curries, salads, wok fried noodles and a variety of starters such as spring rolls and rice paper rolls. As well as the usual drink offerings, you can get lovely fresh juices. There are several dessert options and no fruit platters in sight!
There is a substantial, but not overwhelming main menu. For lunch there are specials where you can get a light and healthy two course lunch for £10. Have kids? There is also a kids menu.
At the time of writing the only gluten containing items on the Pho menu include:
Food: chocolate slab dessert (arrives pre-packaged)
Beers: Saigon, Halida and Beer Lao beers
Most of the dishes are also egg free and dairy free and there are also vegetarian options (which are also mostly vegan, but ask for no fish sauce). Please note the menu does vary slightly between locations – you can check the options for each store on their website.
The most exciting thing of all is being able to have a spring roll – oh how I have missed them! Starters are designed to share, but if you are a coeliac who hasn’t had a spring roll for 10 years, you will be forgiven for having a plate to yourself 🙂
Above: Vegetarian spring rolls on the left; pork spring rolls on the right
The gluten free diner can also eat the prawn crackers and not have to look on wistfully while everyone else eats!
If you can steer yourself away from the spring rolls and prawn crackers, the following are also good options to start your meal.
Below: Pork and lemongrass meatballs on the left; vegetarian rice paper rolls on the right
Salads and main courses
My favourite meal has been Cà-ri, which is a curry (I have always chosen chicken) with ‘broken rice’ .
For a lighter meal, the Gỏi gà shredded chicken salad is lovely (with Asian herbs, peppers & a chilli ginger dressing).
I haven’t tried the options below, but friends have enjoyed them.
Below: Chicken vermicelli on the left; prawn noodles on the right
I have always eaten too many spring rolls to have dessert, but the banana fritter would be on my list if I had room.
If you are wondering, you pronounce Pho as ‘fuh’. Pho restaurants are casual but stylish venues. You don’t have to get dressed up, but it is not a problem if you are! Their central locations mean a Pho meal can be a good pre-theatre option. As a general rule Pho doesn’t take bookings, but some do take limited bookings (eg St Paul’s).
A selection of central London locations are listed below, but as there are around 25 stores, please check their website for all locations.
- Spitalfields – 48 Brushfield Street, London E1 6AG
- Oxford Circus – 3 Great Titchfield Street, London W1W 8AX
- Covent Garden – 65a Long Acre, London, WC2E 9JD
- Soho – 163-165 Wardour Street, London W1F 8WN
- St Paul’s – 15 Upper Cheapside Passage, 1st Floor, One New Change, London, EC2V 6AG
- Clerkenwell – 86 St John Street, London, EC1M 4EH
Also in suburban London (eg Chiswick, Ealing, Westfield Shepherd’s Bush), Birmingham, Manchester, Brighton, Leeds.
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For more London dining options, please check the following links:
- London restaurant reviews
- 100% gluten free London
- Chain restaurants offering gluten free options
- Brasserie Blanc
- Marks & Spencer
- Visiting the UK (train stations, airports, label reading etc).
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