I review the pho at central London’s Moc Kitchen in my pursuit for Vancouver-grade Vietnamese food here in the UK.
Pho at Moc Kitchen, London
There was something about the name of this Vietnamese restaurant – Moc Kitchen – that instinctively made me reluctant to click on it while searching for pho restaurants online – probably the notion that it was merely a mock kitchen and not a real one.
But when I got a craving for Asian food and wanted to go for Pho at around 4pm I found that most places tend to shut for a break between 4 -5.30 pm so I decided to give Moc Kitchen a try.
Another thing which worried me was the ultra central location, in the arches behind Embankment tube station, meaning that overheads must be sky high.
I’ll say right away that the portion sizes were indeed the only complaint I had after my meal at Moc Kitchen, and I can only assume that balancing rent with costs must be a struggle, but other than that I was pretty happy with my pho stop here.
As usual I plumped for rare beef pho, and I found the meat to be decent, not chewy or rubbery, but in rather scant supply. I even had to ask for more bean sprouts, the cheapest vegetable on the planet.
However the important things were right – service was extremely relaxed and friendly while remaining efficient, the broth was very tasty and felt super clean, and I left Moc Kitchen feeling full and relaxed.
As usual I also had salad rolls with prawns and spring rolls (pork this time) and the flavours were excellent on both, again just the size and amount of premium ingredients used was disappointing. I was also sad that they didn’t have peanut sauce but they offered to chop up peanuts and outb them in the hoisin for me.
For 2 of us, the bill came to £47, pretty steep for Vietnamese in the city, but this did include 3 beers.
Verdict: If I want pho and am in central London I would happily go back to Moc Kitchen as it is a solid if over-priced choice, but my search for the perfect pho is in London far from over.
Moc Kitchen is at The Arches, Villiers St, London WC2N 6NG.
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