Food courts are usually not very inspiring places to have a meal, but some of the CBD food courts have been getting quite fancy lately. One of my favourites is the revamped The Galeries food hall in the basement of the shopping complex, just a short stroll from Town Hall station. The food hall exudes a modern vibe with bright colours and interestingly shaped decorations which make it feel much less like a dull conventional food court. The Galeries food hall also offers quite a few gourmet eating options like outlets of the ever popular Ichiban Boshi ramen and Chat Thai, which thankfully have much shorter lines than their restaurant counterparts.
Today I have a craving for pho so I’m trying out a Vietnamese street food eatery in The Galeries food hall called Madame Nhu. I have only ever had beef pho but Madame Nhu features a Pho Tiger Prawn which piqued my interest enough for me to order it. My dining buddy went with the classic Pho Nam Brisket and we also ordered a small plate of Salt and Pepper Squid to share.
The piping hot bowls of noodle soup which come out shortly after we placed our order smelt fantastic and were perfect for warming us up in the chilly autumn weather. On my first sip of the soup, I was glad to find that Madame Nhu’s secret 8 hour broth tasted just as wonderful as its scent had suggested. They were generous with the amount of tiger prawns they put in the pho and each one was quite large, fresh and succulent. I also liked that they used a couple of different ingredients in their pho – broccoli as part of the greens and a sprinkle of fried onions on top which added some crunchiness and complemented the fresh rings of sliced onions already in the soup.
Pho Tiger Prawn, $10.50
My friend also enjoyed her Pho Nam Brisket which featured signature thick-cut Tasmanian grass-fed beef brisket in the same distinctive broth and smooth, silky flat rice noodles.
Pho Nam Brisket, $9.50
I was also pleasantly surprised by the quality of the Salt and Pepper Squid small plate, which were fried to perfection and garnished with shallots, chopped chilli and more fried onions for extra flavour. The morsels of fresh, chewy squid were lightly battered and very moreish, especially with the tasty mystery sauce which came with it. This dish was easily restaurant entrée quality and we were impressed to see it being served up in a food court setting, as it is pretty rare to see restaurant standard dishes being replicated in the fast service environment of a food court outlet.
Salt and Pepper Squid, $8.50
Apart from their delicious pho, Madame Nhu also serves up other popular Vietnamese street food like rice paper rolls, vermicelli salads, meat skewers and even their version of “Hai Nam Chicken” which I am yet to try so I know that I’ll be back for more. As a bonus until 10 May 2013, if you download the new ‘The Galeries’ app for iOS or Android devices and scan the code at the food outlets at The Galeries when ordering your meal, you’ll receive a free meal after you have spent $8 or more at four of The Galeries Food Hall outlets – which is actually pretty easy to do since there’s plenty of delicious eateries to choose from!
Excuse Me Waiter dined as guests of One Green Bean and The Galeries
Shop 5, Lower Ground The Galeries
500 George Street, Sydney 2000
Phone: (02) 9283 3355