Phonatic on Hindley Street is another relatively new venue to the Adelaide food scene which, given its name, it comes as no surprise to dish out Vietnamese cuisine with a particular focus on pho.
On first impression, this looks more like a funky new cocktail bar than an Asian restaurant, and I mean that in the nicest possible way. With the large bar area in the centre of the room, a series of unique light fittings around the place (including bicycle wheel rims, some brake discs and gear cassettes, and even a washing machine drum), moody lighting and some fantastic murals painted around the walls, you can just imagine kicking back here with a few drinks well into the evening.
However, we were here for a workday lunch, so sadly this was not the case. We did get some pho, and large glasses of beer complete with a handle on the side.
The pho here was definitely slightly different to their CBD peers. The broth was slightly more ‘lifted’, definitely less salty with perhaps a touch more sweetness there, but this just made it delicious in a different way. It was still very much pho as we love it. The noodles were plentiful and fresh, making them silken and smooth. The usual accompaniments were there to tweak the flavour, but not much was required to get it on point.
The beef was interesting too, with a wagyu beef version which we just had to take up (albeit carrying with it a $3 premium). This was a lovely option too, and the rare beef poached in the broth just melted away in your mouth. If I had one small criticism, I would have liked just a little bit more (without having to shell out an extra $3.50). Once you throw in the wagyu, $16.90 isn’t a cheap bowl of pho.
In terms of staff they were particularly friendly and welcoming. One small thing – walk in, get our seat and sit down – and be offered a beer straight up was a very nice thing indeed.
The bottom line for Phonatic is that it is – to my tastes – one of the coolest new venues around. Its a very enjoyable place to be sitting and chatting, eating some pho (or whatever you might like from their menu) and sipping on a beverage of choice. The pho was particularly good too, beautifully presented and highly enjoyable to eat.
Despite the fact it is quite a long walk from work, I will be sure to be making the trek again very soon.