Our endless quest to find an edible bowl of pho in Shanghai landed us at Pho House in the SML Center. And we found their pho pretty tasty.
Subtle wood paneling and furniture, cool green walls, and a shelf stocked with spices help Pho House standout from the high wattage colors and cutesy logos of its mall environment. The unique look makes you feel insulated from the usual shopping center shenanigans even though the joint is open air.
Pho House’s centerpiece is naturally pho (28RMB small, 35RMB large), which comes with thin rice noodles, beef slices, strips of cow’s stomach, scallions and the obligatory bean sprouts, basil, and chili sides. One change is that they serve lemon wedges instead of limes; a slight “pho” pas. But it’s no real biggie as they nail everything else from the crunchy and gelatinous cow stomach to the very beefy beef slices to the stock, which has a nice meaty backbone for a change.
Our only complaint was that they scrimp bit on the meat and stomach bites. After finishing the few slices bobbing on top you’re forced to scour the noodle-choked broth for the rest of the minute morsels like a fisherman combing eelgrass for minnows.
Skip the sides. The fried cha gio spring rolls (20RMB) are overly crunchy and flaky flavor graveyards, while the banh mi’s (18RMB) baguette has the texture of a dried out sponge. The bland meat filling isn’t worth the tedium of gnawing through it.
Despite having fairly inedible side dishes, Pho House definitely brings up the curve when it comes to Shanghai’s pho offerings. Putter down to the SML center and grab a bowl.
Pho House – Rm. B-19, B2/F, SML Plaza, 618 Xujiahui Lu, near Dapu Lu (徐家汇路618号日月光中心广场B2楼B-19室, 近打浦路). Tel: (0)21-6152-1187.
See a complete list of our reviews here.
Benjamin Cost is Shanghaiist’s Food Editor. Email tips, recommendations, and news updates on Shanghai’s dining scene to [email protected].