There's no two ways about it: The temperature has officially dropped. As we stretch those roll-necks back over our heads and re-accustom ourselves to scarves and tights, we also remember our generous old friend pho. From family-run Vietnamese restaurants to concept noodle bars, London is brimming with options for this classic dish, which takes 18 hours to prepare. Here are five pho joints putting in the extra time to help warm your cockles.

Bánh Bánh

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Bánh Bánh is a family affair. Run by five siblings, the restaurant's menu reflects the handwritten recipes created by their grandma whilst she was a chef in Saigon in the 1940s. Bánh Bánh collaborates with local suppliers, so their menu changes depending on what’s in season. By day you can dig into Vietnamese street food favourites such as banh mi and sur rolls. In the evenings, the menu focuses on sharing plates. As for the pho: Each hot bowl is served simply with an herb tray and a choice of beef or chicken, just as Grandma would have done it.

Where: 46 Peckham Rye, London, SE15 4JR
When: Tues. & Weds., 6-10 p.m.; Thurs., noon-3:30 p.m. & 6-10 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., noon-3:30 p.m. & 6-10:30 p.m.; Sun., noon-3:30 p.m. & 6-9:30 p.m.
More info: +44 0207 207 2935; banhbanh.com



Green Papaya

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Hackney is home to many Vietnamese eateries, but Green Papaya on Mare Street remains a favourite amongst locals. Serving a cross between Vietnamese and Xian cuisine, this family-run restaurant bustles every night. In typical Vietnamese style, the menu is very long, so skim down to numbers 36 to 41 to find your choice of pho. Each bowl is less than £9 and you can choose among three beef options, chicken, seafood, tofu and vegetables. Foodies on the Hoxton side of Hackney will be glad to find a second Green Papaya, including a lunchtime menu, on Kingsland Road, aka 'The Pho Mile'.

Where: 191 Mare St, E8 3QE; 97 Kingsland Rd, Hoxton, E2 8AG
When: Mare St, Tues.-Sun., 5-11 p.m.; Hoxton, Tues.-Sat., noon-11 p.m.; Sun., noon-10:30 p.m.
More info: +44 020 8985 5486 (Mare St) & +44 020 7729 3657 (Hoxton); green-papaya.com

 

Cay Tre

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The pho selection at Cay Tre knows few bounds. Choose from braised short rib pho, seafood, mushroom, bun bo hue (a spicy version from Hue, the old imperial city, flavoured with lemongrass and whole chillies) and other options, or customise your own bowl. Part of the Vietnamese Kitchen group, Cay Tre Soho and Cay Tre Hoxton have become popular with Londoners seeking taste both in their dishes and the atmosphere surrounding them. The food is served beautifully and there’s none of that unflattering strip lighting the neighbours tend to opt for. With window stools facing the street and a takeaway service, you can still get your pho fix when you’re tight for time.

Where: Soho, 42-43 Dean St, London, W1D 4PZ; Hoxton, 301 Old St, London, EC1V 9LA
When: Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., 11 a.m.-11:30 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
More info: +44 020 7317 9118 (Soho) & +44 020 7729 8662 (Hoxton); vietnamesekitchen.co.uk



CôBa

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Vietnamese barbecue and cocktails are at the heart of Australian-inspired CôBa. “This is food how my mother used to do it,” says founder Damon Bui, who used to run the extremely popular Table for 10 supper clubs. Taking the five essential elements of pho (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, umami), Bui balances the flavours of his crystal-clear soup with beef or vegetarian ingredients. The whole menu is refreshingly simple, and while the location is a little off-the-beaten-track, the short trek from King’s Cross tube is worth it. Make a reservation for dinner, or drop in for lunch and sit at the bar. On your stool, beneath a green and orange hanging lamp, savour your fragrant bowl of pho.

Where: 244 York Way, N7 9AG
When: Mon.-Fri., noon-3 p.m. & 6-10 p.m.; Sat., 6-10 p.m.
More info: +44 749 596 3336; cobarestaurant.co.uk



Salvation in Noodles

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Gluttony is the most evident sin at Salvation in Noodles, with pho served in huge steaming bowls garnished generously with fresh mint leaves, lime and big spoons for slurping. Every meal at SIN comes with one plate-size prawn cracker and sweet dipping sauce, ideal for breaking, sharing and dipping into your soup. They’re a short walk from Dalston Junction, but still pull in a steady stream at the weekends with tables for two, larger tables in the back and a bench seat by the window. Expect good service, a mercifully short menu, warming pho and David Bowie playing over the speakers.

Where: 122 Balls Pond, Islington, London, N1 4AE
When: Mon.-Fri., 6-10:30 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., noon-4:30 p.m. & 6-10:30 p.m.
More info: +44 020 7254 4534; salvationinnoodles.co.uk


By Zara Miller

Zara is a freelance writer who loves travelling and all kinds of storytelling. Follow her on Twitter.