It’s been some time since my touchstone eatery for pho has closed down. Cheerlessly, I’ve been trying a few noodle places around Perth but nothing comes close to the piquantly resonant fleshy soup. Until perhaps now.
The innocuously named Sunshine Café and Lunch Bar is something of a strangulated oddity. If it weren’t for a tip-off on the pho, I would have glanced past this check-floored, soda brand fridge-filled, bain-marie lined eatery.
They do full-breakfasts for high-vis workers, and all kinds of white breaded endeavours and a fearless array of coffee. The humdrum offering that wouldn’t be out of place in utilitarian districts of Gangara or Osbourne Park. Even more unusual is that an industrious Vietnamese family runs it and have put their culinary thumbprint on the menu. After all toasties get boring after a while.
An insanely happy and animated Vietnamese man suggested I try the “The Super Bowl” (Dac Biet Tau Bay) for $13.50 when I first enquired at the counter. Suggesting I was a growing lad and that I needed soup, I enquired about the super-sized bowl and it’s an imposing portion for one. Thanks, but no thanks.
I decided to keep the playing field even (for pho experiences) and declined his offer to play in the super bowl. Pho tai it was.
Misshandmaid decided on the pudgy, tight, fresh rice paper rolls (Goi Cuon) in tofu and prawn. The table next to us must have sensed her endorsement as they requested a plate of “what she’s having”.
How was the pho?
It was solidly good. Much better than what I’ve blundered most times in Northbridge, but it still didn’t have the intensity of flavour I had grown to expect. This pho had a lot more cinnamon, star anise used in the stock. It’s a more delicate style than my benchmark. The portion size is generous and for $10.50 you’d have to press hard to find reason it wasn’t money well spent.
This is a go-there-for-the-food dining experience. The service is jovial and elastic voweled, while the surroundings are functionally unstyled. With food this good you could sharpen the business acumen and serve clearly what you’re good at.