THE drive to Barque Restaurant in East Fremantle was dominated by debate on how to pronounce pho.
“Four,” one of the party attempted. A strident “fur,” was another effort. A third chimed in; “surely it’s poh”.
Turns out the Vietnamese noodle soup is pronounced a soft “four”. Or is it more “fur”?
There was no debate about the taste as one of my breakfast companions dug into the huge steaming bowl ($16): “It’s very pho tasty,” she said
“It’s about the stock; to have a really nice taste you have to get the stock right.”
The pulled pork was tender and the spices light, with a pleasant aniseed flavour, she added.
The other carnivore of the party knew before leaving home what he was ordering, the Barque
“The slab of pork belly was gelatinous, crispy on the outside and melt in the your mouth. Nice and meaty, “ he opined.
A Vietnamese version of bacon and eggs, it came with wok rice and a couple of perfectly fried eggs.
Not usually a fan of omelette I decided to give the asian one a go ($16).
The size of a small car it was a golden mountain of crisp egginess, stuffed with mushrooms, and lashings of ultra crisp sprouts, finely sliced carrot and shredded snow peas, mint and coriander.
Fresh doesn’t begin to describe something this good.
Set in an old federation house on the George Street strip the menu is a mix of Australian and Vietnamese, with an emphasis on spices of the islands to the north, including cinnamon and clove, paired with fresh local produce.
A wall heater meant we could sit on the verandah and enjoy the gorgeous limestone walled garden, despite the chilly morning.
Service was spot-on, efficient and cheerful and when a pot of earl grey tea arrived so did slices of fresh lemon.
“The coffee is good, creamy, not bitter,” the coffee addict in the group declared after downing two in rather quick succession, while the pho expert gave her jasmine tea a big tick.
by JENNY D’ANGER
125 George Street, East Fremantle