Pho Street – Invited Tasting

I was invited by Pho Street to try out their new menu today. They have 2 outlets – Westgate and Bedok Mall. Being an east sider, Bedok Mall was my obvious choice! (Both malls are Capitamalls so if you have vouchers you could use them here).

This brand, though relatively new to Singapore, is created by the Select Group which is best known for their catering services like Stamford and Select, as well as other restaurants like Texas Chicken or Peach Gaden.

Even though this restaurant started in December 2013, just a few months ago a new chef came on board and changed some of the menu, creating new dishes. Broths, sauces and marinades are prepared in their central kitchen to maintain consistency between both outlets. I was told that the menu was created towards southern Vietnamese style because the chef comes from the southern region. Other Vietnamese restaurants I’ve tried in Singapore serves northern style cuisine so I expected the flavours at Pho Street to be somewhat different from what I’m used to having.

With small tables and stools as seats and tables placed quite closely together, comfort isn’t really what they offer. Personally I get uncomfortable sitting on stools for more than an hour so this place is more of a “eat and go” place rather than one where you sit down for gatherings or celebrations. However, the casual setting is suitable for a casual meal with old friends, without any pretense or formalities. Do not be shy to laugh loudly halfway through your meal or turn up in slippers.

Lemon Cooler with Peppermint & Basil – $3.50++

Passionfruit & Basil Mojito – $3.50++

Lots of basil in both drinks. These are sweet and refreshing but I don’t have a strong impression of any of them because I am not the kind who would order sweet cold drinks like these – but they’re ok, good to quench thirst when food gets spicy.

Fresh Summer Rolls with Prawn, Pork Belly & Fresh Herbs (2pc) – $4.90++

A typical Vietnamese spring roll with the sweet sauce. This one is similar to what I had in northern Vietnamese restaurants.

Vietnamese Snack Platter – $8.90++

Crispy Fried Pork Rolls (2pc), Roasted Chicken Skewers (2pc), Vietnamese Crab Cakes (2pc)

With 2 of everything this platter is good for 2. I liked the the crispy fried pork rolls most which was fried to good crispiness. It was really tasty when dunked into the dipping sauce (on the left). I was told that the skin for the roll was brought in from Vietnam.

I didn’t quite fancy the chicken skewers because chicken is usually unappealing to me (unless fried or drenched with some sauce) but my dining companions pointed out that it tastes like Korean chicken.

Crispy Fried Chicken Mid-wings served with Caramelised Sweet Dip (3pcs) – $4.90++

I was told that in Vietnam, the chicken is served drenched with the sauce. Now this looks like Korean fried chicken, and it was nice! I liked the sauce which was slightly sweet and peppery. The chicken was crispy and juicy enough inside.

Sesame Rice Crackers with Fragrant Minced Meat and Spices Dip – $6.90++

The rice crackers are imported from Vietnam and apparently this method of serving with a minced meat dip is common there. I have never been to Vietnam so I definitely haven’t seen something like this before.

Alone, the cracker was quite mild in flavour but it paired well with the dip which was strong in taste. This should be my favourite item from this tasting. The pork dip had spices which reminded of rendang (which I love). It is spicy so those who can’t take any spices, do be mindful.

Pho Beef Combination – $9.90++

Beef Balls, Beef Slices, Beef Shank, Beef Tendons, Beef Tripe

Pho is a northern dish but for Pho Street they gave it a southern twist with a different sauce. This sauce is similar to our local Yong Tau Foo sauce with chilli combined. The broth which was boiled for long hours, extracting natural goodness of marrow-rich bones, was flavourful yet light. For a heavier taste, I added some of the sauce into the soup and it worked out well.

I personally will not order beef combination for pho because I do not really eat parts other than the beef slices but they do have an all beef slices version too for people who are like me. They have 6 varieties of pho, both beef and chicken, on their menu so there’s something for everyone.

Dry Rice Vermicelli with Roasted Pork Chop & Spring Roll – $8.90++

This dish is lesser known than pho to Singaporeans typically but I’ve tried something similar before somewhere else and it’s one of my favourite style of Vietnamese noodles. It’s somewhat like a salad, not served very warm, but very tasty from the sweet and sour sauces drenched over. With a varitety of vegetables in this bowl it makes a balanced meal too.

My dining companions never tried such dish before (since they usually go for pho) and they all voted this as their favourite.

Roasted Pork Chop with Fragrant Rice – $7.90++

The pork from this dish looks similar to the one from the vermicelli but it actually has a totally different sauce and in my opinion the pork tasted better here. This sauce was similar to the one from the fried chicken – savoury and sweet.

Bánh mì Combination – $6.90++

Pork Belly, Grilled Beef, Chicken Ham

Bánh mì refers simply to bread in Vietnam but it’s commonly used when referring to sub style sandwiches which became common in Vietnam because of the French colonialism. I’ve never tried Bánh mì before and my impression from this one was mainly positive. I liked the bread they used! It was crusty on the outside and soft inside. This combination version includes all types of meat but if I were to order again, I’d probably go for just grilled beef.

Cream of Mung Bean with Coconut Sauce & Crushed Peanuts – $3.50++

They only have 2 desserts on their menu and both are served in drinking glasses. This is one big cup of rich creamy dessert so I’d suggest sharing it. If I were to have this alone I think it can be filling enough to be a meal replacement.

Generally, the dishes are slightly spicy and I think this will suit the typical Singaporean’s preference for spicy food. With mains below $10, the prices are definitely wallet friendly. Even with sides and drinks you can easily settle a filling meal for less than $20/pax, $15/pax on average.

*****

Ambiance: 6.5/10
Food: 6.5/10
Value: 7/10
Overall: A decent Vietnamese casual dining option worth checking out if you want to settle a quick meal.

*****

Pho Street @ Bedok Mall
311 New Upper Changi Road
#B1-40 Singapore 467360

*****

Daily: 11:00am – 10:00pm

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