Today I find myself wandering the streets of Nottingham; unable to find Robin Hood, but stumbling upon this little Vietnamese restaurant called CoCo Tang down a side alley. The wind was brutal and I was happy to get inside.
At first glance it looks very nicely laid out; unique and welcoming. The coffee bar is any coffee lovers heaven, and each cup is made fresh; I ordered a cappuccino for £2.50, excited for what was in store.
The menu is printed above the coffee bar, and also at each table on cute little cards – there’s also a fully equipped bar in the back for those late night cocktail lovers.
The staff inside where extremely friendly and didn’t mind me taking pictures for my blog at all. Excited and eager to try the pho I placed my order, took my number, and found a comfy little seat at the very back where I could view the restaurant as a whole.
The decor was lovely, giving it a nice Vietnamese feel, right in the centre of Nottinghamshire.
I particularly liked the hallway on the far left, leading to the bathroom; it felt almost like the feature wall of the whole restaurant
The table presentation was very appealing to the eye, and I enjoyed the upbeat music in the background, which was neither too loud nor too low. It was fairly quiet, and my cappuccino arrived as soon as I’d got settled. My first thought was ‘look at the cute little cup’, and the art work on top always gets me when it involves love hearts; but upon the first sip I was very happy to taste a deliciously creamy cappuccino. I would however, have wished it be a little bigger, but it was yummy nonetheless. The mug gave it an almost huggable feeling, as you wrapped your fingers around it to take a sip each time; after the wind outside it was lovely to have something delicious and warm to heat my hands – I really am quite fond of having no handles on a mug.
Now, for the pho!
If you’re unsure of how to say Pho it’s almost just like ‘fa’ or CoCo Tang recommends ‘fur’. What’s your recommendation on pronunciation? It’s a fun one, and I think you have to hear it said correctly otherwise most people end up calling it ‘foe’ – haha.
There is only one kind of pho on the menu; beef pho, keeping it traditional, so that’s what I went ahead and ordered as it is my favorite kind.
After a not too long wait my pho appeared at the table, and the waitress was very helpful and nice; she placed a basket filled with hoisin sauce, siracha, and fish sauce at the table and told me to enjoy my meal. Without any hesitation I immediately tried the broth in a flurry of excitement, ready for those earthy pho tones we all know and love; I was disappointed. It lacked flavor, and I was sad to see that the beef was not medium rare, instead it was fully cooked pieces of brisket and a little chewy; not so satisfying when the menu even says ‘rare’ on it.
However, I wouldn’t want to put them down completely, because I have had worse, and continued to enjoy the meal with an open mind – adding the lime, the hoisin, the siracha, the bean sprouts, and all the little bits and bobs. Whilst the broth never really got up to my usual pho love it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, and there was a faint taste of the authentic flavors they where trying to capture.
I take my hat off to them for a good effort, and I struggled to find pho anywhere else in the city (open to recommendations if you have them) but I did love the restaurant itself and the atmosphere, and the vermicelli noodles where perfect in that soupy broth. It’s nice to see new cuisines popping up across the UK, and upon my visit to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam (originally Saigon), two years ago I discovered my love for pho, and hoped it would one day spread for everyone to try; I guess my wish was granted, but I’ll have to wait a little longer to get the same quality.
Coco Tang was a lovely afternoon out; their attention to detail within the restaurant is marvelous (even down to chopstick logos), and their wifi was very fast for myself and my husband to talk once again as we continue our battle of long distance for the next few weeks. My verdict? Not the best, but not the worst. I’d definitely go back if I was really craving pho and had no other option. One day I’d love to make it myself, as I know a lot of time, effort, and love goes into the dish to make it authentic and delicious – maybe that’s a summer project I’ll have to blog about.
I polished off my noodles and filling, but the broth defeated me and I was happy to see that for £9.50 the bowl was so full it was hard to finish. Thanks Coco Tang; a good £12 spent! My journey continues in the windy, hilly, city of Nottingham (A place I once called home for 5 years back in my youth.)
Keep tuned for more delicious adventures coming up, and today I have some exciting news….,
My husband will be arriving in the UK in exactly three weeks, where we will go on delicious adventures, and find ourselves vacationing in Cluji Napoca, Romania, where I will be doing a special Romanian post.
Until next time, Mrs Conley.