In looking for new things to assuage the boredom of our latest incarceration, I came across Oasis Home Supper Club (Twitter can be a utter cesspit, but it has its uses) who are doing a click and collect takeaway service covering a different world cuisine each week.
I have experience of a few of the world cuisines, over the years, having travelled a bit and being a total glutton and am always open to expanding my horizons food wise
The Kurdish week piqued my interest, but having ordered (for reasons beyond my control) I couldn’t pick up that Saturday (poxy car was in the Garage with Volvo right royally ripping me off for a part).
It did look good,but heyhoo.
I, therefore, deferred my order to weekend 2 of the “Firebreak” and with the ever changing menu got Vietnam.
I love a good pho (pronounce Fuh), so the new menu was actually right up my street.
I am not a great fan of tofu and when you have a toss up between beef sirloin and brisket and tofu it is a bit of a no brainer as to what to order (a bit like me being asked if I would like a glass of chilled fino or a smack in the face).
It is a click and collect rather than delivery operation, so off I trundled to deepest darkest Splott to pick up my dinner (you are given an alloted time).In terms of pick up, it is a slightly odd set up with one of the Oasis team loitering in the carpark to greet you and then going inside to pick up the goodies. I arrived 2 minutes early (my pick up time was a 17.00 – 17.15 window) and it looked to all intents and purposes to be well and truly closed.I, however, hung around and a man in chef’s whites appeared (Mr Ben-esque) as if by magic.
The takeaway came in some nice (easy to transport) packagingand certainly looked the business with loads of meat, veggies and noodles,
a rich, aromatic, beef bone brothand a container of dia rau song garnish salad ( comprising of Thai basil, mint and coriander, limes, beansprouts and green chillis).The noodles and veggies had been pre – cooked, as had the brisket, so it was a case of pouring the reheated stock into bowl and adding the aromatics.
I went the whole hog with the dia rau song, but you can put as much or as little of it in as you like. The beef sirloin slices were (correctly) raw, so the idea is they are cooked purely by the application of the hot broth.
As the pick up was a good 15 minutes drive from my house, the broth needed warming up before being added to the other ingredients.
The dia rau song garnish salad was then added to the mix.
The key to a good pho is the broth and this one was a corker. Lovely beefy hit that comes only from long and slow cooking of beef bones, with punchy aromatics (star anise really kicking in) and a pleasing saltiness from fish sauce.
There were plenty of rice noodle (pre cooked and re-invigorated by the beef broth), as well as crunchy cabbage and tenderstem broccoli
As you can tell from the picture below,
I rather enjoyed this pho.
In addition to the Pho, I ordered some banh tieu, which are sesame doughnuts doused in sesame syrup.
I warmed these up in the oven and they were nice and light, with the sweetness coming from sesame syrup.
All in all very enjoyable
Beef pho is quite a tricky dish to pair wine wise, as you have the beef (in the form of the bone stock and the beef slices), the aromatic herbs, the sourness of the limes, the heat of the chillis and the saltiness of the fish sauce. Lots going on in there for a wine to contend with, especially for a big red wine that you might otherwise pair with beef (the robust tannins and high alcohol levels you often get in a big red don’t tend to work that well as against spice).
A lot of people say a cold beer (lager style – nothing too hoppy) is the way to go with a pho and I can see the merits of a good one with a pho.
As it tend to be a breakfast dish in Vietnam, pho there it is often had with green tea or coffee.
I, however, fancied wine – no change there I hear you say.
I reckon my old food favourite, a sherry, would work with Pho. I would go for a palo cortado
or maybe (the usual sherry pairing for beef) an oloroso.
I do think an oloroso might just over power the pho, so would – if going the sherry route – probably opt for the palo instead.
I didn’t go for a sherry though (was keeping my powder dry for sherry week, which started the next day) and instead decided on a riesling from the Washington State in the US (picked up for £8 in Waitrose).
Whilst this is stated to be dry, it had a touch of ripe stone fruit sweetness to it that worked well with the sourness of the limes and the aromatic herbs. It also had enough oomph about it to cope with the beef.
Quite a good pairing I thought, which operated nicely with the aromatics on display in the pho.
I love a good pho and this was a very good pho, full of fantastic flavours.
I really like the idea of a different World cuisine each week and it all helps to put people back on their feet.
Would I order again Absolutely – great quality and great value
The pho also translated well to the take away format.
A nice touch is the provision of recipe cards that allow you to replicate at home the dishes you order.
Definately going to get me some beef bones to cook a pho when Cardiff Central market is back open
Finally it is all for a good cause.
Very much a case of vittles and virtue.
The weeks menu are put up on their twitter feed each monday at 9am and it was Columbia last week.
Next week it is Sudan – really curious to see what that entails as I have no idea as to Sudanese food.
I shall wait with bated breath for an Ethiopian one, a cuisine I rather enjoyed on my one and only visit to an Ethiopian restaurant (Blue Nile in Birmingham).
My advice is be quick if you want one of these as they sell out very fast after they publish the menu details at 9am each Monday.