A pay-what-you-want concept is driving the CBD’s newest pop-up, Pho Real, until August 11.

The Vietnamese hawker-style pop-up is a testing ground for the founding trio’s restaurant venture, which is planned for later in the year in the same space. The permanent CBD spot is scheduled to open in September, and this is a chance to trial its kitchen, its recipes, and even its prices.

“We were all raised in Springvale and think there are no proper pho places in the city,” says co-owner, Midawell Phal, speaking about his partnership with other co-owners Thai Ho and Raymond Phan. “We want to bring the authentic flavours of the outer suburbs to the CBD.”

Melbourne’s infatuation with pho is only growing, so the boys behind Pho Real don’t think over saturation of the traditional Vietnamese dish will be a problem. “We’ve been chock-a-block every day,” says Phal. (the pop-up sold out of broth by the end of lunch on the first day, and had to cancel dinner service.)

Less-popular Vietnamese specialties, such as ba la lot (beef with betel leaf) and Mama’s Recipe Chicken, jostle into the menu line-up, alongside a range of traditional phos and charcoal skewers.

And just to reiterate, you get to pay what you like.

Pho Real opens at 11 Liverpool Street for lunch from 11am–3pm, and dinner from 5pm to late. More information on the event here.