Feeling a bit under the weather, and not having had any Vietnamese food for MONTHS, I decided to try Ha Long Bay tonight. I ordered the rare beef and well-done flank noodle soup (the only option on the menu for beef pho.)
I set my expectations low, since I didn't want to get too excited and face disappointment. But overall, it wasn't too bad.
The biggest problem was the broth, which was somewhat lacking in flavor depth. It did at least taste like beef broth (as opposed to chicken or ???) and had a bit of the richness I associate with pho bo, but I have definitely had better versions.
The other big problem was the noodles, which were a bit unevenly cooked and clumped together in places - so some sections were still too hard.
The meat in the soup was a fairly generous (or at least normal) portion, and was tasty and tender. The soup was garnished with red onion and green onion, and the presentation was quite nice.
Plate of garnishes on the side included: thai basil, coriander, lemon, bean sprouts and sliced red chili. All good quality, and nicely presented as well.
Serving size was big. So, having accepted that I'm not in San Francisco's Little Saigon anymore, I think £5.00 is a pretty good deal for a very large soup in London, especially during dinner hours at a sit-down restaurant.
Service was friendly, other dishes on the menu look interesting, location is very convenient (right on high road, a few meters south of the tube station)
And most importantly, I was really in the mood for pho, and it definitely did the trick. So, I probably wouldn't suggest traveling great distances to eat here, but if in the area, it's certainly not bad.