There are Viet restaurants firmly in the Cabramatta/Canley Vale/Canley Heights/Bankstown/Marrickville Vietnamese heartland, then there are those that have taken the mainstream plunge, loud and proudly Vietnamese in the City, inner city, east and north shore.
Then there’s Pho 76, that’s somewhere in between, Wetherill Park is well within Viet heartland but also exposes them to a more diverse customer base. And they’re doing amazingly well. It’s a decent sized eatery that is generally bustling.
The Vietnamese fresh rolls are pillowy and fat, with a line of prawns that you can see through the rice paper – my litmus test of a good execution. Everything you would expect from vermicelli and a variety of mint are found in the filling. The sauce looks the part with grated carrot, chili jam and crushed peanut, however, I found the sauce a little heavy-handed in hoisin, which became too salty for me.
Com tam, anglicised to broken rice (which always makes me wince) was really very good. The pork chop in batter is definitely not traditional, but tasted quite good. The fried egg is an optional extra, it’s meant be runny but today it was over-cooked. I also found the fish sauce that came with this dish much too vinegar sour, here I would have preferred more fish sauce saltiness.
Ok, so fried ice cream is not traditional either, but was a delicious end to our meal. In fact, it probably demonstrates exactly what I mean about Pho 76 being somewhere in between: good, Viet food appealing to a broader range of customers.
Pho 76 is not perfect, but the quibbles I have a relatively minor. The food is good, combined with fast, efficient service – no wonder it’s doing so well.
PS: Some of you have asked about broken rice, according to Wikipedia:
Some rice grains break in the transport and processing of the rice from the field to the pot. Machinery is available to separate the broken grains from the whole grains. Broken rice may or may not have lower fibre and nutrient content, but generally has a similar energy content to intact rice.
The broken varieties are often less expensive, so are preferred by poorer consumers or used as raw material (such as in beer brewing).Due to the different size and shape of the grains, broken rice has a different texture from “unbroken” rice. Some chefs and consumers may prefer the qualities of broken rice for certain dishes.
C04 Stockland Shopping Centre
Polding St, Wetherill Park (Opposite the Hoyts Cinema)
(02) 9604 7776