Sometimes, a big bowl of steamy pho is exactly what the doctor ordered. There is, however, a distinct lack of pho restaurants in the Brunswick area. Luckily, Barkley Square (or as we locals affectionately term it, Sparkly Bear) opened a Roll’d during its revitalisation project about a year ago.
Roll’d delivers their take on Vietnamese street food; pho, banh mi and rice paper rolls. The best offering Roll’d has is the cup of pho – a coffee sized cup of pho to rid threatening colds away. We ordered two bowls of beef and chicken pho, and a side of chicken ribs. Because who can resist cheap, crunchy chicken ribs?
The bowls arrived quickly, with a wedge of lemon served on a spoon. The broth itself contained a few herby bits and bean sprouts but I yearned for a plate of chilli, Thai basil and mountains of beansprouts to add at will. Roll’d may be one of the only pho joints to skip out on the trimmings. Nevertheless, the broth was an herby, chicken concoction that warmed the belly and soothed the soul. The addition of sriracha added the much needed flavour punctuation, however, hoi sin sauce would have definitely been another great addition here. The noodles here were on the softer side but worked harmoniously with the shredded chicken and clusters of rare beef.
I like Roll’d for the convenience. The price point is acceptable and it’s never a gamble in that I am always served consistently the same quality. I have sampled their rice paper rolls in the past and I do feel that this is a strength of the franchise, with the pho not really hitting the mark. That said, I have slurped my way through Melbourne’s Vietnamese noodle soup scene and am probably quite discerning when it comes to the humble bowl of pho.