Banh Mi & Bottles Philadelphia
Typically, a gloomy, rainy day calls for a hot piping bowl of pho. My favorite Vietnamese food staple. I think that pho is a noodle soup for the soul sans chicken. I was lucky enough to accompany my friend Christine (@phillyfoodnatic) one Sunday afternoon on her tasting hosted by the wonderful staff and management at Banh Mi and Bottles. Since our tasting, all I can think about is when I am able to go back.
Looking for a tasty bowl of pho? How about a bomb Vietnamese sandwich that is packed with flavor but vegetarian. *gasp* Let's say you want a great selection of beer ranging from domestic to some great foreign breweries (over 300 craft beers in fact). Banh Mi & Bottles has it all.
Appetizers & Drinks
We began our meal with some refreshing beverages such as coconut water and Vietnamese coffee. The Vietnamese coffee was wonderfully balanced with the perfect level of sweetness thanks to the condensed milk stirred in. Even my friend enjoyed it, and she is not one for coffee beverages at all. The coconut water was equally delicious and served fresh in a coconut. If it was evening time, a cocktail or a refreshing beer would have also made a wonderful option as well.
Our foray through the menu began with a couple of appetizers that were so delicious, we could only imagine how wonderful the main entrees would be. First, we were served up some delicious tamarind ribs. I appreciated how tender and easy it was to eat each piece. These ribs became a quick favorite of mine. They were so well marinated and packed with a delicious aromatic flavor that touched on sweet, tangy and a little smokey. To add to some texture, these ribs are served with some fried vermicelli noodles and were a delight to munch on.
Afterwards, we were served some refreshing summer rolls. A classic dish served cold that includes vegetables and shrimp wrapped in a rice paper wrapper. There was an option to dip it in a couple of sauces and add a heap of cilantro and pickled carrot to pack a punch in every bite. I think that this appetizer is wonderful for a hot day when you need something light but satisfying. I highly recommend these items if you're looking to start off with something light and full of flavor.
Of course, we had to try the classic pho, a banh mi and the popular Obama Bowl. We were split on what to order, so we asked our server for recommendations. He had pointed out that we could opt for a half-soup/half-sandwich option and we were sold. We went with a vegetarian tofu pho infused "brisket" banh mi and the classic pho with brisket and enoki mushrooms.
This vegetarian banh mi was flavorful and marinated so well that it felt as though it was actually meat. Paired with a side of vegetarian pho broth, this was such a great option on the menu for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. The cilantro and pickled vegetables made every bite filled with a crunch and the bun was superb. I think that this and the pho make for a great pair that fills you up!
The pho was soothing and prepared so well. I only really needed to add the basil, jalapeño and onion to my preferred taste specifications. The vermicelli noodles were the right amount of chewy and soft while the brisket melted in my mouth. Overall, I could just drink up a bowl of this broth forever. It really is soup for the soul.
The Obama bowl was up next! With all the food we had, this one was the one that filled us up the most. The Obama bowl is served cold with vermicelli noodles and consists of grilled pork, imperial rolls, a grilled pork patty and pickled vegetables. On the side is a fish sauce that you pour over and mix in. It's delicious and filling and once again a great option for these hot summer days.
Now you may be wondering why this is called the Obama bowl. Here's why:
In 2016, Anthony Bourdain and Barack Obama went to Hanoi and had these $6 bowls of bun cha in an episode of Parts Unknown. In honor of this moment, Banh Mi & Bottles decided to create their own version of the famous dish and trust me, it's worth a taste.
We of course had room for dessert. We went with something interesting: a sorbet of mango, passionfruit and raspberry served in a white chocolate shell with a spoonful of mango puree on the side. This was the most refreshing and fruity dessert ever. In spite of being so full, this dessert was so good that I could have had seconds. I loved every bite and have been craving it ever since!
Overall, I highly recommend checking out Banh Mi & Bottles. Their food is delicious and fresh with a great take on traditional flavors. In addition, the chef has even taken into account entrees that can fare well with individuals' palates that are unaccustomed to traditional Vietnamese foods. With a cute ambiance, plenty of space to sit back and relax at the bar or at a table, Banh Mi and Bottles is a newly opened gem on South Street deserving of a taste.
I hope you enjoyed my review and that your appetites are ready for more. If you are interested in seeing more behind the scenes of our meal check out my instagram (@christineceline) or my Weekend Outfits Ideas Vlog (towards the end)!
FTC: This post is not sponsored. I did receive the food in exchange for an honest review and all thoughts are my honest and candid opinion. I can't wait to return for more!