Last year it was next to impossible to find a bowl of pho in Malta, which is a pity because the Vietnamese noodle soup dish is healthy, delicious, and a favourite among foodies the world over.
Thankfully, things are changing fast this year. Emma’s Kitchen introduced pho earlier two months ago and now a London-based Vietnamese restaurant has opened its doors in the heart of Paceville, serving up various pho dishes among lots of other delicious Vietnamese delicacies to go with them.
The name of the new franchise is House of Ho, but don’t let that confuse you – Ho is a common Vietnamese surname so the name is not meant to imply that this is another one of Paceville’s many clubs built by “gentlemen” for “gentlemen”. It’s actually a semi up-market (and quite spacious) restaurant and bar, offering good food and a selection of awesome cocktails.
The very friendly staff at House of Ho recommend trying at least two starters, which is just as well because it’s next to impossible to choose just one. The duck spring rolls and pork belly buns are definitely worth trying, but so are the baby back ribs if you’re going to push all boundaries and order a third starter.
The chili edamame are also recommended if you’re really hungry and need something to nibble on while you wait. They’re a perfect accompaniment to the cocktails, which come in all shapes, sizes and colours (the one we ordered came with a green light and its own ice glass.
Then you can choose between different mains, either a pho dish (they’ve got chicken, beef and vegetarian) or a ho dish (which includes lots of other versions of rice, noodle and meat dishes that don’t come in soup form).
The pho is pretty decent but you might want to order an extra portion of bean sprouts and leafy herbs if you like your pho to have a touch more freshness and crunch. The crispy duck and watermelon salad is also worth a try if you’re keen on experimenting.
House of Ho also offers an amazing plate of exotic fruit for dessert – including passion fruit and fresh lychees – which makes for a refreshingly healthy option which you rarely find around Malta. Although if you prefer something more indulgent, you’re probably going to opt for the matcha green tea fondant instead.
A full dinner with dessert and cocktails could set you back up to €50 per person, but if you’re going to stop at one dish (which you absolutely shouldn’t), you won’t be spending a fortune and you’ll leave pretty satisfied.