I have not been inside The Peak Galleria since at least nine years ago when we used to live up on The Peak. Back then, there was hardly anything of note in there except Café Deco and perhaps a couple of other restaurants. I still would never use it as my go-to shopping mall… but it has certainly gone up in the world since I was last there!
A few months ago, the Café Deco Group added another restaurant to its collection, a casual contemporary Vietnamese restaurant that goes by the fitting name of Pho Yummee.
I adore Nha Trang and for me there are few Vietnamese street food restaurants in Hong Kong that compare, so I was interested to try Pho Yummee to see how it fared.
The décor is kept simple and bright, so your eye is drawn towards the open kitchen where the skilled chefs prepare the food. On a warm night (definitely not the night I went!), seating is available on the balcony, perfect for people (or rather tourist!) watching.
Our feast (for I was dining with Café Deco’s lovely PR girl, Apple) started off with soft shell crab, mango, ginger and avocado summer rolls. These are a must-have for me at any Vietnamese eatery, and somehow Pho Yummee managed to make them even better than any I’ve ever tasted before. The contrast between the crunch of the crab and the soft buttery avocado, not to mention the sweetness of the mango was beautiful, particularly accompanied by the delicious homemade sauce.
Char-grilled pork belly skewers topped with crispy shallots came next. Although very tasty, these were rather a nightmare to remove from the skewer and then even more difficult to eat, to the extent that the friendly waiter decided to bring us cutlery – something no true Hong Konger ever wishes to happen to them!
The pomelo with roasted duck salad was delicious – again an exciting contrast between the juicy pomelo, crunchy peanut and crispy lettuce, and made even more exciting by the first-smoked-then-roast duck breast. Like nothing you’ve ever tasted before.
The cold rice vermicelli with turmeric catfish, scallion and dill was light and refreshing, and I can imagine it being an absolute sell-out on a hot summer’s day. For me, though, it was perhaps a little heavy on the batter.
I was feeling the need for something warm, however, so saved space for the two (giant) bowls of soup noodles. First came the Bun Bo Hue (rice vermicelli with beef brisket and pork in a hot and spicy Hue-style soup). This was one of my favourite dishes – perfectly warming to the bone and the noodles were just the right texture. I would have liked it a little spicier but our friendly waiter said he didn’t know if I could take the heat! Pah!
The Pho Bo, usually one of my all-time favourite Vietnamese dishes, actually seriously let me down. Although this may sound ridiculous, it was overpoweringly beefy. The stock was too concentrated, meaning there was no chance for any other flavour to stand out.
The Vietnamese-style fried rice however, was incredible and definitely my favourite dish. The contrast of textures and flavours here became even greater as prawns, Vietnamese sausage, pork floss, dried black olives, strips of egg and sawtooth coriander all came into play. I’m a huge fan of Yeung Chow chow fan, but the Vietnamese sure do a mean version too!
Stomachs bursting, we were presented with a crêpe filled with shrimp, pork, Vietnamese sausage and bean sprouts. Not something I would usually go for, it was nevertheless another delightful dish.
It is scientifically proven (by the well-known scientist Dr. Ale!) that there is a separate compartment for dessert. However, somehow on this occasion, it was a real struggle to fit half a scoop of homemade strawberry-lemongrass and tangerine-rambutan sorbet in my compartment. The small amounts I could manage, however were light and fresh, accentuated by real pieces of fruit mixed in.
Pho Yummee is very reasonably-priced and offers something a bit different to The Peak’s other restaurants. Unless you are find yourselves on a weekend walk up there or are forced to take your annoying relatives on a sightseeing tour, you’re probably unlikely to find yourself standing in front of The Peak Galleria. If, however, you are reluctantly made to do one of the above, make it worth your while and try Pho Yummee!
Pho Yummee Shop 19-21, 1/F, Peak Galleria Shopping Centre, 118 Peak Raod, The Peak
2849 2121 www.cafedecogroup.com/outlet.php?oid=42
Check out more from Ale on her fab foodie blog, The Dim Sum Diaries!