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Pho Thin

  • Restaurants
  • Melbourne
  • price 1 of 4
  1. Bowl of chicken pho.
    Photograph: Supplied
  2. Bowl of beef pho with savoury doughnuts and a can of sugar-free Coke.
    Photograph: Supplied

Time Out says

Eating north Vietnamese noodle soup anywhere else in Melbourne? Pho-get about it

When Hanoi export Pho Thin reached our shores in 2019, Melbourne foodies scrambled to get a taste of the Vietnamese soup chain's wares. On the back of a challenging few years for hospo, the Hardware Lane noodle shop remains triumphant, still commanding city crowds over lunch and dinner daily. 

Expect a humble, countertop-style establishment, easy to miss if you blink. Lightbulbs housed in artisan-woven rattan shades cast a warm glow over the tables, while framed press clippings on the walls hint at the legendary status of Pho Thin’s founder, Nguyen Trong Thin. The feel of the space is somewhat liminal, a cosy pitstop for a meal you can wolf down fast. This, of course, only cranks up the authenticity factor. It’s exactly the kind of spot you’d discover in a backstreet in Hanoi. 

For those used to the punchier, hoisin-rich beef stock of south Vietnam, your first sip at Pho Thin may befuddle – the northern style hits different. But what follows has its own brand of yum no less superior: mellow, herbal and gently pungent from the slivers of fried garlic spiked throughout.

Unlike the original recipe back in Hanoi, this one contains fresh Victorian produce and zero MSG, resulting in a taste both heartful and home style. Try the signature dish “stir-fries up” – rare slices of skirt steak fried with garlic and served in a leafy broth along with ginger, shallots, flat rice noodles and generous chunks of spring onion and coriander. 

Among a small list of other pho bowls on the menu (including a veggie option), there’s also a fragrant red-wine pho with beef that’s been marinated overnight for extra slurp-worthy points. For the uninitiated, it’s a must-try. 

Curious about more carnivorous treasure? Order a serving of unctuous fatty brisket or a raw egg yolk to stir through your bowl. As per traditional pho shop custom, a tray of condiments encourages further play with the flavour profiles, which wash nicely down with a coconut juice or delicate iced tea.

Crunchy Vietnamese doughnuts for dipping into your soup are mandatory, but a word of warning: these popular treats typically run out by 3pm. After all, Pho Thin is considered one of Hanoi’s – and now, luckily for us, Melbourne’s – very best pho shops.

Do yourself a favour and pop in for your next lunch break. A belly-warming bowlful awaits. 

Lauren Dinse
Written by
Lauren Dinse


389 Lonsdale St
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