I had reviewed Pho Street @ Westgate more than a year ago and I still remembered how much I had enjoyed that pho soup broth. This time round, I was invited to a media tasting at their second outlet in Bedok Mall because they had a new Vietnamese chef aboard who had rolled out a new menu recently.
For those who haven’t been to Pho Street before, they are a quick service restaurant that serves up authentic Vietnamese street food with some familiar favourites like pho (Vietnamese noodles), bun (rice vermicelli), com (rice) and banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich). Banh mi is perhaps one of the most significant additions to the new menu so we can now enjoy a complete Vietnamese street food experience at Pho Street.
Here’s a glimpse of their new menu (click on image to enlarge):
We started off with a Passionfruit & Basil Mojito (S$3.50) and Lemon Cooler with Peppermint & Basil (S$3.50) to refresh our taste buds before the food arrived.
I preferred the mojito to the lemon cooler as it had a lovely fragrance from the fresh basil leaves which I don’t normally see being used in beverages. The passionfruit syrup that was mixed in didn’t taste overly artificial and the sweetness level was just about right. On the other hand, the lemon cooler was pale in comparison because the drink was just like a regular 7-Up or Sprite but with a slight hint of fresh mint.
The Fresh Summer Rolls with Prawn, Pork Belly and Fresh Herbs (S$4.90 for 2 pieces) were served with this dark sticky sauce that reminded me of the sauce that is used in Peking duck pancakes or roasted char siew. Unlike the usual dipping sauce of fish sauce, lime juice and sugar, this sauce had a rich flavour of hoisin sauce that was sweet, salty, savoury and really tasty.
I loved how compactly packed the rolls were so every mouthful was a firm, tight bite. I could just hold it up with my fingers or chopsticks to eat without worrying that the roll would fall apart. The crunch from the prawns and lettuce, slight chewiness from the pork belly and the softness of the rice vermicelli really gave dimensions to the roll with different textures that came together perfectly. This is a must-order!
This was a sampling size portion of their Vietnamese Snack Platter (S$8.90) that would come with 2 servings of Crispy Fried Pork Rolls, Roasted Chicken Skewers and Vietnamese Crabcakes each. I liked its rustic presentation on a bamboo wicker tray. All 3 items didn’t disappoint. There was yam in the pork roll that was crispy on the outside yet it didn’t ooze oil when I bit into it. The chicken skewer was tender and moist as dark meat was used. It had a spicy kick which lingered on the tongue for some moments – shiok! The crabcake tasted really sweet and fresh and because crab meat was mixed with pork, it gave a firmer bite like a meaty patty. The pickled vegetables in the middle made great palate cleansers! This is another must-order dish especially if you like variety 🙂
When the Crispy Fried Chicken Mid-Wings served with Caramelised Sweet Dip (S$4.90 for 3 pieces) were served, I thought they were going to be really greasy because of the thick batter on the outside. I was wrong. The wings were served hot and the exterior was all crispy and crunchy without being too oily. The meat inside was also moist and juicy. There was a slight peppery taste which tasted even better if dipped into the sauce provided. Come on, who doesn’t like fried chicken wings? 😉
The Sesame Rice Crackers with Fragrant Minced Meat and Spices Dip (S$6.90) was another delightful appetiser.
While the crackers were generally bland, they were moreish bites when paired with the minced meat mixture that was tasty and packed with so much flavours from the spices and lemongrass. It kind of reminded me of bak chang filling but with a spice twist, lol.
The broth of the Pho Beef Combination (S$9.90) was as good as I remembered if not better. Chef said no MSG was used in his cooking and the broth was naturally prepared with meat bones and long hours of boiling.
In my previous visit when I had tried the same, the beef slices were overcooked and were tough and chewy but this time, I could see that slight pink colour on the meat. Though the beef wasn’t the most tender cut I had and the beef balls weren’t the springy type either, this bowl of pho was certainly a great improvement from before. The shank and the tendons were yum. The noodles were cooked to perfection too. And I was glad to see the addition of bean sprouts for the extra crunch.
For those who prefer rice to noodles, you can try the Roasted Pork Chop with Fragrant Rice (S$7.90) that comes with a generous slab of bone-in pork chop. I was impressed by how tender the meat was. In fact, the meat would just break apart from the bone at a slight tug with the fork. Very tasty marinate too.
Besides pho, banh mi is probably the next big thing for me in Vietnamese cuisine. It’s like a must order for me whenever I visit a Vietnamese restaurant. I am so glad that banh mi is now available at Pho Street so I have an additional option to grab sandwiches to go. This Banh Mi Combination (S$6.90) was a 3-in-1 sandwich that combined their pork belly, grilled beef and chicken ham banh mi in one. The baguette was crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside. The explosion of flavours and textures in every bite was just amazing. My only gripe? I wished they had liver pate spread in it.
To end the meal, we had the Cream of Mung Bean with Coconut Sauce & Crushed Peanuts (S$3.50) which was more like a drink than dessert.
It was an interesting concoction as you could taste the distinctive flavours of mung bean and coconut milk, just like a tau suan puree in watered down coconut milk. After drinking a few mouthfuls, one thing that came to mind was that it really tasted like this Chinese sweet rice kueh which my folks would sometimes buy for praying to the Chinese gods. If you want to try something different, go for it.
Overall, I was very satisfied with the dishes because the quality of their food seemed to have improved by leaps and bounds – kudos to the chef! If they continue to maintain this same standard across all outlets, I’m sure most patrons and Vietnamese food lovers like me would be making return visits. I highly recommend their banh mi, summer rolls, chicken mid-wings and snack platter 🙂
PS: Thank you Mei Ping for the invite and hospitality.
Pho Street @ Bedok Mall
311 New Upper Changi Road #B1-40
11.00am to 10.00pm (Mon-Thu)
11.00am to 10.30pm (Fri-Sun)
Pho Street @ Westgate
3 Gateway Drive #B2-K6/K7
11.30am to 10.00pm (Mon-Sun)