A while ago, I took my friend to Pho Tau Bay in Cabramatta not long after it was awarded the Best Pho in Sydney. My friend thought that it was OK but admitted that the pho at Flemington was much better in her opinion. At first I found this hard to believe because I couldn't imagine Flemington to have the same Vietnamese community vibe like Cabramatta, Canley, Bankstown and Marrickville in terms of its cuisine. After researching the restaurants on Urbanspoon it turns out that Flemington does have a generous selection of Vietnamese restaurants. While my friend was unable to recall the name, I figured she was referring to Pho Toan Thang. This appeared to be one of the more prominent Vietnamese restaurants in this quiet suburb (except when the markets are on) with loads of people queueing outside this small, hole in the wall restaurant. Time to find out!
On the day, there actually wasn't any queue and the restaurant was very quiet probably because I was there very early before 6:00pm (or late for Cabra restaurants) or the weather was a bit too warm for pho. For some reason I was hungry so early and craving for pho so I was glad that there were no lines. It did get busier later on though with the restaurant getting packed and noisy but still no queue by the time I left (probably much busier at lunch though). Service was quick, no fuss and sharp just like the usual Asian restaurants and the decor had that old school charm without any necessary glamour. And that's how I like it.
Soya Bean Milk (I think the price was around $3.00 but don't quote me on it)
Aside from the usual complimentary tea, I also got the usual glass of soy bean milk. Quite cool, refreshing and not too milky though it was a struggle to finish once you start digging into the massive bowl of pho.
Rare Beef Rice Noodle Soup ($9.00)
While some pho restaurants offer small, medium or large bowls, at Pho Toan Thang there is only one size available. At $9.00 for a bowl of pho that I believed was a large size, it's definitely good value for money with generous servings that will get you full fast. The broth was very dark yet still clear to see the slippery, thick-sliced noodles. While it was flavoursome, I still had to rely on the lemon and loads of Vietnamese mint and basil from the complimentary platter. Also the beef wasn't as soft and fall-apart as I would usually prefer but it was still tasty and juicy that I was able to polish it off along with most of the noodles.
The service was very fast so I can imagine the queues moving fairly quick compared to many other busy restaurants. With most main dishes priced around $9.00-$12.00, this was one of the more cheaper Vietnamese restaurants that I've been to. It's even cheaper than some of the restaurants in Cabramatta! Felt so full and satisfied by the end thanks to the generous portions. At this stage, I wouldn't immediately consider this as the best pho in Sydney (yet) until a few more visits are made. With the weather getting cooler each day, I can imagine coming back here again soon to try the other dishes for a warm comfort meal after work especially the crispy chicken with tomato sauce rice dish. Should be interesting to see how it compares to Tan Viet's version.
NOTE: Pho Toan Thang accepts cash only and there's no ATMs in the area at all so make sure you get cash out before heading to Flemington.
Pho Toan Thang
Shop 9, 95 The Crescent, Flemington NSW 2140
(02) 9674 3687
9:00am - 8:00pm