Sometimes you just want food that fills the void. Oh yeah, and a little flavour while going down the hatch is a nice bonus, too! And that’s what Pho’s 5 Star in Bundoora delivers: just enough flavour at a decent price. Let me be right understood before you go any further though: there are no magicians in the kitchen and no frills in the dining room. This place is basic Vietnamese – cafe style in appearance (classic condiments and cutlery on the table) and serve up decent food quickly, and at a price that will fill you up and leave plenty of change out of a $50 note.
So, let’s move onto the food! That’s what you’re really here for, isn’t it! As an entree, I ordered the Vegetarian Rice Paper Rolls ($8.50/4 pieces) which were okay. Again, I’ve cried about this at other places: the utter lack of the fresh herbs. I will say it now and and I will say it again and again – those fresh herbs can make or break Vietnamese food of this type, meat present or not. But, I must admit, they were tasty once dipped into the accompanying peanut-hoison sauce mixture. But Vietnamese food has so much flavour, it shouldn’t need dips to create the flavour. Dips should be to enhance the flavour. Oh lady bear, get off your soap box already…. Okay, okay…
Hubby bear fared much better than I with his Homemade Steamed Dim Sims ($8.50/5 pieces), which he said definitely had pork in them and were tastier than any he’s had in a very long time! Although I always query that term when used on a menu, they did actually look ‘home made’. But who knows, and who cares. They were good and gone very quickly!
For a main, I got my personal favourite (at least when my momma or I make it), the Vegetarian Spring Rolls on Vermicelli ($10). Pho’s 5 Star did a pretty good rendition, but….wait for it!!! Where’s my soap box!? Ah, here it is! Again, the M.I.A. herbs were the downfall! Where are all the herbs!? You’re a Vietnamese restaurant, yeah?! You should be growing that stuff out the back, down the side way, and probably under the sink! Trust me my friends, big handfuls of basil, coriander, mint will make or break this dish – and any dishes like it! So this was sorta broken, I still ate it all, but not with the exuberance I would have, had it been dressed abundantly with my dearly missed herbs!
Hubby got a Special Fried Rice ($10) – he just had to try it. The dish was decent, had bits of sliced Chinese sausage, few prawns, egg, a spring onion piece here and there. Not the best, but not the worst. He also ordered a small bowl of Sliced Beef Pho ($8.50). That’s where this place clearly shines, in their Pho (I suppose, that’s why they’re called Pho’s 5 Star? ha!). Apparently the broth was so flavoursome that hubby didn’t even want to attempt to add all the wonderful sticky sweet hoison or buzzy hot Sriracha sauces to it! He let the rice noodles, beef slices and spring onion just dance on their own. Shocked? I know! I love mixing heaps of sauces in my pho, but he said it was that good it didn’t need it! Respect.
Lastly, the complimentary hot tea was a nice touch (which was actually offered up at the start of our meal), but didn’t taste like much. I still can’t work out what sort of tea it was! LOL!
So, final say? Good food (with a few stand outs for meat eaters) at a great price. Nothing to write home about, but nothing to run from either. Just take note, they get cray-cray busy on a Friday (when we went), so I’d recommend you book ahead if you want to get in!
Address: 1266 Plenty Road, Bundoora, VIC.
Tip! Parking can be tough, so try around the side, back, or down one of the residential streets.