It’s been a very, very, very long while since I last feasted on a good pho.
Following an afternoon of shopping spree, 10 and I were strolling down the mainstreet dining of Gandaria City, where we first tasted the fooking good food from Fook Yew. We spotted a couple of enticing eateries to fend for our starving bellies, namely Basilico, Munchies, and Marugame Udon, but we neither have the energy nor the patience to wait in line, so we decided to give Pho24 a chance.
Apparently, the Nam Am Group-owned franchise has been around locally since 2005, with ten established outlets in Jakarta as well as the remaining 70+ outlets in Cambodia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and South Korea. Though it’s dominated the Asian populations in its entirety, I think the staple Vietnamese dish has a particular allure that appeals to a worldwide audience and across all ages – it’s simple, it’s familiar, it’s inviting, plus it’s healthy.
We started off with a Viet favorite appetizer, the fresh, simple, shrimps-filled spring roll. You have a choice between the small and the regular sizes, and you get only 2 pieces (IDR 18,000) for the small and 4 pieces or the regular (IDR 30,000).
I love the spicy-nutty sauce that comes with it, but I’m not a big fan of the thick rice wrappers of the rolls. It’s also very sticky, and there was too much vermicelli in it. It was hard to bite off the whole roll without grinding your teeth incessantly and still have shrimps falling off your mouth. All that viscidity aside, I love the super fresh veggies in the roll, as they really get your appetite rolling.
Thank God we only had the small, because our pho bowls were huge.
10 had the Phở “all” (IDR 52,000), which comes in only one size. Pho24 claims that this broth was concocted with 24 different herbs and spices, alongside the quality beef meats (Australia imported) that comes in four forms: beef shabu-shabu, well-done, soft tendons, and meatballs.
Before diving in to your pho, it’s best to take your time to mix in all the sprouts, onions, cilantro and mint leaves, and that extra lime squeeze to jazz up your bowl.
The verdict? The Phở “all” was delicious alright, though I wish the noodles were a teeny-tiny bit more delicate to taste with its broth – which I expected to be far richer and flavorful than it really is. I was anticipating all that umami alongside the zesty seasonings I just added, but it didn’t come through. Individually, the main ingredients of the dish tasted good, but somehow they don’t come together in full harmony like the one at Pho’ House.
As usual, I had my Phở gà small (IDR 39,000; regular size IDR 45,000). It’s a chicken dish (and the only chicken dish on the menu), with the beef broth on Phở “all”.
One notable point: For a small serving, they’re pretty generous on their meats. You don’t see meats on your dishes at this portion in most restaurants in town – just look at all that chicken!
On a more serious note, I think the chicken itself was slightly overcooked – and this has nothing to do with my preference for all things soft. The cutlets weren’t soaking in as much flavors from the broth as they should, and just like in the Phở “all”, the savory essences of the dish just don’t coalesce in concert and come together into a singular gist. Somehow downing the chicken, the noodles, and the soup separately was better than having spoonfuls of everything.
So will I come back to Pho24 for another bite? Probably when I’m in Vietnam, or if I know no other joints to enjoy pho in Jakarta (in which case, there are), but perhaps not to this outlet.
If you know a good Pho24 outlet in town, hit me up on the comments section below.
Gandaria City Mall
UG Floor, MU 31-32
Jl. Sultan Iskandar Muda 5 No. 8 (Arteri Pondok Indah)
Jakarta Selatan 12240
(021) 2905 3069
M-S 10:00am – 10:00pm