One thing I like about Vietnamese fare is that they are generally cheaper than most other Western cuisines, and I love Vietnamese cuisines just as much. It is usually also for casual affairs and fuss-free dining experiences. Pho Street @ Westgate has a simpler design as compared to its other outlet in the East, Bedok Mall, no thanks to restrictions by the mall management for being in that basement area. Regardless of that, I was singing the praises of the well-taken photographs plastered on the walls of the restaurant, and saying how important they are, as I believe that the degree of enticement depends on the photos to a large extent. I was there to try their menu launched nearly 3 months ago.
Pho Beef Combination ($9.90) :: This is usually what my choice of main would be when I pay a Vietnamese restaurant a visit. Even though I have not had a whole lot of Vietnamese cuisine, I thought the broth, boiled with beef bones, was pretty decent. Light but flavourful at the same time. Although I have had richer and heavier flavoured ones, I thought it was decent enough. Beef includes beef slices, shank, tendon, tripe and balls. The parts were all fine to me, except the beef balls which tasted like it was frozen meat. After checking, it was indeed the case. Despite so, I do not see it as a huge problem given the price tag. I would still order this on my next visit.
Dry Rice Vermicelli with Roasted Pork Chop & Spring Roll ($8.90) :: The dried version might look unassuming but it was really spicy. I do take spicy food (although not the super duper mala soups), so I would say that my tolerance level is average. The pork chop was generous in portion, but I thought it was slightly dry. The noodle is accompanied with a crunchy mix of vegetables, pickled carrots, radish and drizzled with a sweet sour sauce. In all honesty, I still find it worth paying for even though nothing stood out for me, probably because of its portion and the substantial ingredients.
Vietnamese Snack Platter ($8.90) :: While the main courses I tried were reasonable, I would not recommend ordering this snack platter, comprising crispy fried pork rolls, roasted chicken skewers and Vietnamese crabcakes (2 pieces each). The pork rolls and crabcakes were too dry for me, and the chicken skewers too, and meat tasted inferior, nothing near being tender and moist. For me, they failed as appetisers.
Summer Rolls with Prawn, Pork Belly & Herbs ($4.90/2 pieces) :: On the other hand, I would strongly recommend ordering this appetiser. The striking colours of the prawns would suggest how thinly wrapped the ingredients are wrapped. Almost every mouthful will have a bite of prawns, pork belly, and herbs. I thought the combination was brilliant. Maybe I am biased because I love prawns and pork belly, but I really like how fresh and simply prepared the dish was. Even though this may seem less worthy as compared to the portions and variety of the Snack Platter, trust me this is more worth it.
Other Vietnamese street snacks here were average at best in my opinion. The Fried Chicken Mid-wings ($4.90/3 pieces) were served with caramelised sweet dip. They did satisfy the crisp on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside basic criteria, but I find it slightly pricey. It also reminded me of Ha Cheong Gai but less fragrant.
Cream of Mung Bean ($3.50) :: First sip and I was thinking really hard, ‘this tasted really, really familiar’. After a good one or two minutes, I had an epiphany – mooncake! It tasted like snowskin mooncake! I kid not, go try and let me know! I like this dessert a lot, and I think it is the first time I have tried it. It is mixed with coconut sauce and crushed peanuts. Such a huge cup of thick consistency dessert (which equates to a rather filling one) is only for $3.50. I am pleasantly surprised. I will definitely order it again when I am back.
What’s worth paying for:
Pho Beef Combination
Dry Rice Vermicelli with Roasted Pork Chop & Spring Roll
Summer Rolls with Prawn, Pork Belly & Herbs
Cream of Mung Bean
Photos by Kathleen.
Address: 3 Gateway Drive, Westgate #B2-K6/K7, Singapore 608532
Telephone: 6465 9909 (takes reservations)
Opening Hours: 11.30am – 10pm (Daily)
This was a media session.