Phu Yen

Posted on 2007-02-26 09:22

700 March Road (Kanata)

This is a very small restaurant in a strip mall across the street from Alcatel (on the corner of Terry Fox Dr). It is actually billed as a Chinese / Vietnamese restaurant, so they have both types of cuisine on the menu. There are less than a dozen soup varieties, although they also have your usual starters, plus rice dishes and vermicelli dishes. They also have a reasonable selection of Canadian-Chinese sounding dishes.

Soups are one size, and are slightly pricer than downtown shops, with an average of $7. Hours are generally 11am to 9pm, except they’re not open for lunch on Sundays. Parking is readily available, except can be hard to come by during the week since the business crowd quickly fills up the spots - mostly to go to the Barley Mow pub which is in the same mall.


So finally I get to start

So finally I get to start sampling west end restaurants, since I'm now working out this way. I was quite excited to try a new place, so I phoned in my order and they told me 15 - 20 minutes. I went to pick it up, and was surprised at how busy it was. It is a very small restaurant, basically a long narrow place with one row of tables along each wall and a corridor up the middle to the cash at the back. People with big parkas might be dipping into other customers' soups if not careful.

Anyway, my soup was ready, so I paid (they accept debit and credit) and worked my wait out of the throng. I'm not sure if the place was so busy due to the quality of the food, the small size of the place, or just because it is across the street from the mammoth Alcatel complex. My order came in a pretty large bag containing a large styrofoam of broth, another large container of noodles and meat, and a very generous amount of sprouts and basil leaves. There was also a wedge of lime, and a small bucket of hot sauce and hoisin mixed together. This was a bit unfortunate as they mixed together on my ride back to work; those who wanted hoisin but not as much hot sauce would be out of luck.

So on to the tasting. I ordered Vietnamese-style deep fried spring rolls, and ended up with the cold wraps with shrimp and peanut dipping sauce. They were actually quite good - not amazing, but definitely not shabby. The broth, well, it was actually pretty reasonable. Was not the most flavourful, but it wasn't exactly bland. I don't think there was too much MSG, although I can only tell when there is a lot of it. It was also hotter than expected given my journey in -10 weather, the shrimp weren't overdone, and the noodles were plenty. There wasn't too much garlic (a pet peeve of mine for broth), although again I was lucky in that I didn't mind the combination of hot sauce/hoisin I ended up with.

One small beef - they filled the broth container so full, I couldn't actually mix the noodles and broth without pouring out half the broth. Actually, I ended up mixing the two large containers and then having two identical soups in a row. At least they weren't being "cheap", but I will now bring in a large plastic pho soup bowl to work.

rating: 7.75