I’m the first to admit that I’m not a fan of franchises. I’m not sure when or why I developed this aversion but in my opinion franchises are the restaurant equivalent of soup in can (which has never seen the inside of my pantry!). So, if I’m brutally honest, I wouldn’t ever of my own accord have set foot in PHO24. That said, when I received an invitation to a celebration of pho – one of my favourite things – my arm was twisted. I can justify going to the only existing restaurant of the international franchise PHO24 currently in Australia, can’t I…?


We were running a little late on the night but despite that, we were welcomed by our friendly hosts, owners and franchisees Andrew and Craig. Quickly ushered to our table, we were served a glass of blended Prosecco and Moscato before a feast of bite size delights ensued.

PHO24 SLOW COOKED PORK STEAMED BUNS ANTHONY LICURIASlow cooked pulled pork steamed buns


PHO24 RICE PAPER ROLLS ANTHONY LICURIAFresh Vietnamese rice paper rolls


PHO24 BANH MI ANTHONY LICURIAMore delicious bánh mì

Fresh Vietnamese rice paper rolls, baby octopus salad, prawn spring rolls and slow cooked pulled pork steamed buns preceded what was, for me at least, the stand out dish of the night, the bánh mì. The most superbly, crunchy baguette I have ever tasted south side of the equator (courtesy of French Fantasies bakery in South Yarra) was filled with sous-vide smoked paprika pork, house-made paté, mayonnaise and fresh vegetables and finished with crispy fried shallots, chilli and dressing.

PHO 24 PHO DAVID COOKPho (above and below)




PHO 24 SPRING ROLLS DAVID COOKPrawn spring rolls

Next up was the pho, which they claim is ready in under a minute. They weren’t kidding! I barely had a chance to select the camera app on my phone, let along take a photo, and the bowl was prepared and ready to eat! I ordered the chicken pho and went half and half with husband who ordered the traditional beef version. Delightfully fresh and comforting, the broth was deep in colour and the flavour packed a punch.


Throughout the evening, Andrew and Craig provided thoughtful explanations about the provenance of the restaurant and the food, as well as some tips of traditional ways of serving and eating Vietnamese food. They take incredible pride in their establishment and this is evident in their food. They do not purport to be the most traditional Vietnamese restaurant in Melbourne but rather take pride in preparing and serving traditional dishes using contemporary and modern methods. Their focus is to provide patrons with consistently good food, every time. To allow them to do this, everything is prepared in house, from the sauces and paté to the broth and sous-vide meat.

My skepticism of franchises still remains, however in the case of PHO24, I am converted.


(Image credits to David Cook and Anthony Licuria)

Trading hrs:
Monday to Wednesday 7:00am – 9:00pm, Thursday 7:00am – 9.30pm, Friday 7:00am – 10:00pm, Saturday 10.00am – 10.00pm, Sunday 10.00am – 9.00pm

Bookings:  Available

Address: 656 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne (corner Spencer Street)

Ph: (03) 5915 9047


Twitter: @Pho24Aus

Facebook: Pho24Australia

Instagram: @Pho24Aus

Take away: Available

Must try: Bánh mì with your choice of chicken, smoked paprika pork, Vietnamese salad or meatballs. The smoked barramundi pho is also on my list to try next time.


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