Remember when 7-11 stores were everywhere? Yah, that was in the 80's. Then came the 90's and they started disappearing. All of a sudden, at the turn of the millennium, they began re-appearing. Like a Richmond driver stuck in a roundabout, the cycle continues with 7-11 locations closing once again. The latest to disappear was the one on King George Highway and 102nd. And randomly replacing it is another Vietnamese joint - All About Pho. Since I was in the early stages of a nasty cold, it seemed like a good idea to stop by and inhale a steaming hot bowl of Pho. That I did. When I first walked in, I spied a corner table with great lighting and privacy for my incessant picture-taking. I was flatly denied with the excuse it was spoken for. But the table remained empty for the duration of my meal! Whatever...
Onto what I was here for... Despite not looking like a whole lot of food, the large Pho Dac Biet was satisfying enough. However, it wasn't satisfying in terms of its execution though. After the initial hit of sweetness, the broth fell flat. It could've been due to the modest use of MSG, but there wasn't any distinguishing flavours. Furthermore, the rice noodles were on the softer side while the meats were either dry or a bit chewy. For all the Pho I've tried in the city, this was a lackluster attempt. As for my Banh Mi, it was pretty large. In fact, I would say it was one of the largest ones I've seen at a Vietnamese restaurant. However, once again, there were shortcomings. First, the bread was dense and not toasted enough. Hence, it was chewy and cold. Second, despite the plethora of meat, the lack of pate and skimpy use of butter-mayo made the sandwich dry and bland. The fact that the pickled carrots and daikon were not impactful didn't help things either.
Within the same week, I returned to try something else and again asked for the corner table. And just like last time, I was denied with the same excuse. Yes, it remained empty for the duration of my meal. Honestly... What's up with that table??? I had the Grilled Pork Chop and Chicken with Rice and it was a pretty good portion. I found the flavours to be somewhat closer to 5-spice rather than lemongrass. But in the end, it was not bland and the meats were pretty tender. It just didn't taste like most other Vietnamese restaurants. Normally, the food could be considered "okay" if there was not much competition nearby, but with Pho Tam just down the street, All About Pho has a lot of improving to do.
- Clean and spacious
- Portions are okay
- Food is generally mediocre
- Why can't I sit at that table?