There’s a rare and unusual part of Illawara Road in Marrickville, NSW that I’ve light-heartedly (yet quite appropriately, if I may say so myself) referred to to my partner as “Photown”. 1
“Let’s drive to Photown?!”
My reference of Photown on Illawara Road is a group of 5 Vietnamese restaurants (Yen for Viet, Hoang My, Thuy Huong, PHD and Quyen), all lined up on the same block, almost all next door to each other, and all serving very good Vietnamese food, including the famed, revitalizing pho/phở.
This little cluster of pho houses is a clever cooperative marketing strategy, for if you feel like Vietnamese food/pho, but not certain which restaurant to go to, just head over to Photown where you’ll be presented with five similar yet distinctly different venues to choose from, all within walking distance to each other.
One of the original and most popular/successful establishments in Photown is PHD Vietnamese Restaurant (formerly called Pho Hai Duong). Their culinary creations are so famed across the land, that it’s warranted them expansion – the opening of another branch, literally around the corner on the main strip of Marrickville, called Pho PHD Vietnamese Restaurant (at 260 Marrickville Road).
We’ve dined at both PHD locations and we’ve discovered that the food is delicious and consistent at both places. The Marrickville Road restaurant is newer with a more modern setting, while the original Illawara Road restaurant is warmer/cosier (perhaps the auspicious red colour scheme has something to do with it?) and it still remains a crowd favourite, despite the competition around it.
Although taste is subjective, the praise for and popularity of PHD mirrors the excellence of its food. The distinctive features of PHD dishes are the richness and depth of flavours without being too intense or overpowering. I can’t speak about all of the dishes on their extensive menu but maybe, their slogan “sup’herb pho” reflects some clues to their cooking practice – an emphasis on the use of herbs and aromatics, which is evident in the flavourful broth of their pho/noodle soups, for example.
On Easter Monday, we revisited PHD in Photown for an early dinner and once more, we were impressed and satisfied with the quality/taste of the food and friendly/helpful and efficient service (thanks Michael!). If you love Vietnamese food/pho as much as we do, you owe it to yourself to visit PHD Vietnamese Restaurant to experience/enjoy some of their celebrated house specialties.
PHD Vietnamese Restaurant
Address: 308 Illawarra Road, Marrickville, NSW, 2204
Phone: (02) 9559 5078
- Delicious Vietnamese food with loyal customers
- Extensive menu
- Excellent selection of noodle dishes (soup and dry)
- Friendly young staff
- Because of its popularity, it might be difficult to get a table. 2
- My reference of Photown on Illawara Road, Marrickville is probably not new. Please don’t get it confused with the Vietnamese/pho restaurant in Hurstville, NSW actually called Photown. Also, I use the term Photown with utmost respect. ↩
- Alternatively, you can go to their second branch – Pho PHD Restaurant, located at 260 Marrickville Road. Otherwise, there are other Vietnamese restaurants closeby to chose from. ↩