An ex-accountant that can’t cook. It doesn’t exactly sound like a recipe for success when it comes to opening a restaurant. But in the case of Phoodle, it’s one of the many ingredients that combines perfectly in creating delicious Vietnamese food. While Alan Thai admits he’s no whizz in the kitchen (his business and life partner Lily also confirms this), his family background would suggest otherwise.
“Growing up I spent a lot of time with my grandma, she’d always be cooking family dinners, which of course always included her secret ingredients” said Alan.
Along with Alan and Lily’s passion and hard work, it’s this secret recipe that has helped put Phoodle on the food map. And while they serve it up every day, Alan and Lily don’t exactly know what goes into it, or what measurements help make the secret recipe so delicious. “Grandma won’t tell us, only she knows, along with mum and dad, and they’ve been sworn to secrecy” said Alan.
With university friendly prices, and a generous number of menu items to choose from, Alan and Lily are deserving of their flavoursome reputation. “Lots of Vietnamese restaurants only offer individual menu choices, yet Vietnamese food is all about sharing. So we offer a tapas style you can choose from” said Lily. Popular dishes that keep the regulars coming back are the Vietnamese pancake, the vermicelli salad bowl, and of course their famous beef pho (with grandma’s secret ingredients).
Even though the sauce recipe is kept under lock and key, the ritual of how it’s prepared is more widely known. “Grandma, mum and dad prepare the sauces every night for the next day. Then they bring it in for the chefs to cook with” said Alan.
“Food brings people together” says Lily. “And Vietnamese food has a long history of that. Connecting with our customers is important, and making them smile is a great feeling.”