Friday, October 20, 2006

The Happy Buddha off the King's Road

What’s fast, delicious, fun, cheap, perfect for children and will get you in all kinds of trouble if you say the name out loud. Phat phuc – which in Vietnamese stands for Happy Buddha.

Phat Phuc is an authentic noodle bar which can be found in an open air courtyard just off the Kings Road in Chelsea where seven days a week, the genial proprietor serves delicious rice noodle soups and a generous dose of philosophy from a decorative noodle cart brought over from Ho Chi Minh City. And you've got to love the fact that this is a cart with its own website!

You can sit outside either around the cart or at the few small tables nearby. If you like your food with conversation, sit at the noodle bar. Powerful heaters are fired up when things get cold but eating outside is all part of the novelty.

The menu is pretty much soup made with “pho” a clear broth with a choice of vegetables, beef or chicken, but the price is extremely reasonable ( about £6) , the bowls are large and the quality and freshness of the ingredients is excellent. Springs rolls are on offer for £2.20. As the lady sitting next to me yesterday remarked, “I live here. This is so much better than a sandwich.”

Phat Phuc is a real gem that drives a bulldozer through the conformity and pretentiousness of its surroundings. Students, ladies in Hermes scarves, shopkeepers and shoppers all communing over steaming bowls of healthy fare. Brings the kids but not lots of cash and enjoy the show.

Location - opposite Heals and next to the Chelsea Farmer's Market at 151 Sydney Street down the steps by the flower stall.

Tel: 07870 393863 or

Open daily from 12:00 to 5:00

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