I don’t normally do “press announcements” for new restaurants, nor do I attend pre-opening bashes with lots of free food, but I make the exception on announcements for Phat Pho because I am a huge fan of their original Cebu restaurant and I eat there at least once every trip I make to Cebu (and that is 2-3 times a month).
When it first opened, with Vietnamese-born Chef Bruce at the wok, the simple but well-executed dishes and short but satisfying menu was (and remains) a real treat. I wrote a review of the Cebu restaurant here, and if you go back and read it, you will have figured out I am a big fan of Phat Pho. Chef Bruce hasn’t been around for several months now, and some of the dishes have lost a bit of edge, but I still find myself visiting often, either for some beautifully made fresh spring rolls, or a bowl of pho (oddly, with lettuce on occasion?!) or their addictively good fried rice. They also have a spicy noodle stir-fry that is delicious.
The new Manila location is a collaboration between The Abaca Group of Cebu and The Moment Group of Manila (‘cue, Namnam, BurgerBar, etc.) and if they keep the same formula of a very small space with few seats this place is almost certainly going to be jam-packed for the first couple of weeks of operation. But the real test is if they can keep extremely high levels of food quality with well-trained and almost obsessively compulsive chefs (hopefully Chef Bruce and or other Vietnamese chefs are there for the first few months if not longer) and the right ingredients like real limes. It’s about time the recent trend towards ramen (which I love, but there are just too many mediocre ramen places now) gets some competition from a Vietnamese pho place. Good luck to the folks at Phat Pho Manila, and congratulations in advance, Marketman is truly hoping you have a slam dunk of an opening! But wait, save me a few seats for about 1-2 months from now, when the place has had time to settle down. And yes, I will pay for everything we eat. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Officially opens 12 February 2014 at 6pm
Ground Floor, Serendra
Bonifacio Global City
11am-11pm, starting 13 February
Photos courtesy of Phat Pho Manila.