If there is one type of restaurant that my area of Winnipeg is blessed with an abundance of, it’s Vietnamese. Many of the boat people who came to Winnipeg at the end of the 1970s and into the 80s settled in the West End of the city. One of the results of this is that the neighbourhood contains around 20 Vietnamese places, any of which are no more than a 20 minute walk from my house.
My last review was of Viva, which is about half a dozen blocks away from me as I travel down Sargent, at the north end of my block. Today I’m reviewing Pho Kim Tuong, which is about the same distance away, heading west on Ellice, at the south end of my block.
My first attempt to visit here was on Hallowe’en and I found it was closed. It turns out in their case, Wednesday is a regular closing date. I say in their case, because on Hallowe’en, almost every restaurant on Ellice as I headed west, was closed.
Anyways, it took me a few more days before I paid my first visit to Pho Kin Tuong. When you enter off the street there’s a little lobby, and then you turn left, through another door to enter into the restaurant itself. The restaurant is narrow and fairly deep with seating for about 70. There’s assortment of tables with chairs and against one wall, some booths. The greeting is friendly and your quickly taken to your table.
When I received the menu the first thing that caught my eye is that several of the appetizers are available in small and large sizes. As a single diner, I really enjoy this because it gives me the opportunity to try a couple on a visit without too big a hit to my wallet or my stomach, or at least it usually does.
The salad rolls and the spring rolls were both very well done. There was plenty of filling and they were both well seasoned.
I mentioned above that I liked the idea of small appetizer portions because they weren’t overly filling. However, this was one time when although the appetizers were a good size, the Vermicelli Bowl I ordered was huge. One thing that stood out was, that in most of the vermicelli bowls I’ve ordered I received 3 maybe 4 meatballs, in this one there were 6 or seven. I actually ended up leaving some at the end of my meal because I couldn’t stuff in anymore.
Meanwhile, while I was eating my meal, the above plate of fruit arrived at my table. I said I hadn’t ordered fruit, and found out that it’s the restaurant policy to serve a plate of fruit with any meal purchased after 7 pm. This fruit is complimentary.
It took me a couple of weeks before I was able to get back again. This time I was a little more cautious in my ordering. I ordered the small grilled meat balls for my appetizer, and the sizzling beef as my main course. On my first visit had green tea to drink, and this time I had the hot Vietnamese Coffee.
The meatballs came with a smattering of green onion on the top, and a dipping vinegar, but I found the flavour of the meatballs satisfying enough that I didn’t bother with the vinegar.
The sizzling plate was the most modest of the dishes I had in terms of portion size, but it was still plenty substantial. I liked that they threw in a little yellow pepper to add some extra colour to the dish. The dish is listed as spicy on the menu, and I found it reasonably so(although I have a fairly high heat tolerance)
The coffee was good, and I really appreciated the fact that they brought a little bowl, so that I could put the filter on top and collect the last little bits of coffee that dripped through.
Now, of course, no review of a Vietnamese restaurant is complete if you haven’t tried the Pho. Like the appetizers, the Pho is available in large or x-large. As this was my third visit, I had learned my lesson and I ordered the large. My choice was the Rare Beef with, well done flank, and tripe. The broth was really rich, and the plate of bean sprouts that came on the side was large and heaped high.
For an appetizer I went with the minced Shrimp on Sugar Cane. The shrimp was very tasty. My server told me that the sugar cane was edible as well, but when I bit into, I found it was too hard and string. This is likely because I don’t know the proper way to eat sugar cane. Nevertheless, I was really happy with the dish and would order it again.
For my beverage I went with a Passion-Fruit Peach Bubble Tea. All of their Bubble Teas are available with the option of having it as a shake or adding the tapioca balls. I went with the tapioca balls. They add an element of fund to the beverage. This Bubble Tea also tasted great as the two fruits complement each other quite nicely. I think this will likely become a go to flavour for Bubble Tea.
The service is very good and also very friendly. It’s seems to be the kind of place where: visit once, you’re a customer, visit twice, you’re a friend, visit a third time, you’re family. I definitely will be visiting here in the future and highly recommend it.