Ngon Ngon on Clerkenwell Road
Last Saturday, it was time to say the first of many goodbyes to the indescribably wonderful Miss L before she leaves for the other side of the world. For the first part, we went to Ngon Ngon on Clerkenwell Road for a bit of lunch. Ngon Ngon is a cute little place with a yellow front and limited tables, so get in quick because it fills up fast. Service varies according to how busy it is, and food is served fresh from the grill – so to speak – so it will arrive at your table at varying times. It’s certainly not a place to go to if you’re in a hurry!
Now I’m always a huge fan of Vietnamese. When you’re gluten free, Vietnamese is great because there is one thing and one thing only that fulfils all your needs.
Pho. If you’ve never had pho, it’s basically a delicious noodle broth. It’s naturally gluten free (although do mention you can’t have soy sauce just in case) and at Ngon Ngon you get a choice of beef, chicken, tofu, seafood, monkfish, duck or “special” (rare and well done beef and chicken). I decided on well done beef – there are three beef options depending on your tastes – which means slices of beef brisket over flat rice noodles in their “house” broth.
Pho can be really good or really boring. It’s all dependent on the balance of broth to noodle, and how flavoursome the broth is. Thankfully, Ngon Ngon’s pho broth is rich and full of flavour. There’s plenty of beef (sometimes you get a bad ratio of noodle to meat and then it’s boring), and the portion sizes aren’t too big to over-fill you. They’re not too bad in price either – a bowl of pho averages £9, which is great for a long lunch.
Pho is the ultimate comfort food. It’s rich and tasty and satisfying. It’s filling too, but Ngon Ngon’s portion size was just right. I loved the atmosphere, and although the service wasn’t as fast as usual, it was a great afternoon spent with good food and good company. The first in many farewells with Miss L was kicked off with some pretty decent pho.