Every restaurant needs a visionary chef – someone who dares to dream up revolutionary ideas in defining its cuisine and lead his people to create the best dining experience. I had the privilege of working for 2 executive sous chefs (as front of house being an assistant restaurant manager) when I was in F&B industry – one was a native Italian and the other one was a local Singaporean (who specializes in French cuisine). I am so very grateful for such experiences – I learned so much about the high standards chefs have for their food – from the freshness of the ingredients to the presentation of each and every dish before it gets served to the customer. Every single plate of food, from the appetizer to the dessert, is like a newborn child to the chef.
And seeing them in action with all the other cooks, is an even more interesting experience xD All I can say is, the road to becoming a good chef is not easy! #respect
So when I got to know that Pho Street has got a new head chef and a new revamped menu through the media tasting invite, I was immediately interested to try it out and see for myself the dishes that Chef Hà Vị Cang Kenny has put in the revamped menu. Besides, I love Vietnamese cuisine because it’s healthier than many other cuisines and being slightly gluten-intolerant, I prefer rice and rice flour dishes.
Hubby and I got there at about 635pm when the dinner crowd was not too thick. It was my first time there but it wasn’t hard locating Pho Street at Basement 1, given the very bright and welcoming signboard:
I fell in love with the colours immediately – lovely turquoise with dark wood tones! I find it a good balance – the woody feel portrays an authentic Vietnamese background while the striking turquoise logo and fonts give off a trendy modern feel.
We were seated at a corner where I had a fantastic view of the entire restaurant and its works:
Pho Street is a quick service restaurant where you order what you want at the cashier, pay at the cashier, then you go back to your seat and wait for the dishes to be served to you. The restaurant is decked in the usual narrower tables and stools (as what you will often see along the streets) but it was still spacious enough for comfort.
It got crowded at 7 plus – the location of Bedok Mall helps, being right beside Bedok MRT!
First up, we were served the Fresh Summer Rolls with Prawn, Pork Belly & Fresh Herbs ($4.90), along with our 2 beverages: Lemon Cooler with Peppermint & Basil ($3.50) and Passionfruit & Basil Mojito ($3.50, non-alcoholic). The drink on the right hand side is the Lemon Cooler (see the piece of lemon inside?).
Firstly, I was impressed by the size of the Fresh Summer Rolls.
We really had to stretch our mouths to fit it in.. really fantastic value for money!
Taste-wise, I was very happy with it. The big slice of pork belly inside the Summer Roll added a lot of flavour to the roll even without adding any dip!
These are the 2 new drinks on the revamped menu – I personally prefer the more adventurous Passionfruit & Basil Mojito while Hubby likes the Lemon Cooler. Both have basil leaves in them which I LOVE. These refreshing drinks are great after a hot day outside – they also go well with spicy dishes.
Can I also mention that the size of these drinks are huge! and they cost only $3.50 each :))
We were then served with the Vietnamese Snack Platter ($8.90) that consists of Crispy Fried Pork Rolls (2 pcs), Roasted Chicken Skewers (2 pcs) and Vietnamese Crabcakes (2 pcs). Note that as the portion in the above picture was just a tasting portion, hence it does not show 2 pork rolls and 2 crabcakes 🙂
I believe the pork roll is the best I have ever tasted so far. The other ones I tasted elsewhere, the crispy exterior tends to be a bit too thick and hence covered the taste of the pork inside. Pho Street’s Crispy Fried Pork Roll is very well-done with a thin crispy exterior and a very flavourful, juicy and generous pork filling – it was heaven inside my mouth. I did not even find any need to dip it inside the sauce.
It was my first time trying Vietnamese crabcakes. Hubby likened it to our Otah, but I think it has a much more delicate taste, as though they added some special spices. Oh yes, they were very succulent too.
As for the chicken skewers, they brought in a delightful peppery twist to the whole platter. They were spicy and also very tender.
For $8.90, this platter is a fantastic choice for a sharing appetizer between 2-3 friends 🙂
Chef Kenny has had more than a decade of experience in Vietnam and in this next appetizer, Sesame Rice Crackers with Fragrant Minced Meat and Spices Dip ($6.90), he brings from Vietnam these sesame rice crackers. Apparently this snack is frequently found in homes of the Vietnamese locals – and now we, in Singapore, are able to have a taste of that. You are supposed to eat them together like this…
Spread them on the cracker and it will end up looking like…
…this! The minced meat is slightly spicy (I think I tasted a bit of spicy dried shrimps aka hei-bee-hiam in there) and very very fragrant. Coupled with the rice crackers, it’s one superb combination involving all kinds of textures and tastes. One basket consists of 6 rice crackers, and the minced meat is more than sufficient to go with them!
Our last appetizer was Crispy Fried Chicken Mid-Wings served with Caramelised Sweet Dip (3pcs for $4.90). The mid-wings alone taste just like normal crispy fried chicken mid-wings so my advice is, eat them with the dip!
Here’s my half-eaten mid-wing with a bit of the caramelised dip 🙂 The dip is specially made using fish sauce, pepper and sugar – it was warm when served and adds a very satisfactory fiery oomph to the wings. You won’t be able to find this anywhere else!
After savoring all the above Vietnamese Street Snacks, we are now ready for the main courses.
At Pho Street, each piping bowl of Pho is served in a light and flavourful broth that has been boiled for long hours to extract the natural goodness of marrow-rich beef bones.
We were served the Pho Beef Combination consisting of beef slices, balls, shank, tendon and tripe ($9.90).
Here’s my smaller bowl of pho with a piece of tendon, a beef ball and some tripe.
Verdict – the broth was awesome and is likely to be the best I’ve ever had. I don’t need any chilli padi or additional basil leaves to add on to the taste, the broth alone was good enough. Both hubby and I have the same opinion – out of all the dishes we have tried, the pho was the most outstanding and impressive.
They were also pretty generous with the onions, basil leaves and chives, so I did not have to ask for more!
You know how this dish impressed us? It wasn’t the pork chop, although the pork chop was well-executed with peppery spices and generally tender (there was a small part which was rather tough though).
The rice was the highlight for us. Hubby could not figure out what the difference was. He went “you see how the rice looks clumpy, but once you put the rice in your mouth, the rice just falls apart nicely” hahaha.
So at the end, we had a chance to meet Chef Kenny and I decided to ask him what he put in the rice that made it so unique. He said “it’s the garlic oil from the spring onions on top of the rice.”
See those spring onions on top of the rice? Apparently the oil from those spring onions seeped into the rice and hence created the fragrance in the rice and the oil apparently also helps to ensure that the rice ‘falls apart nicely’ in the mouth hahaha!
Such a simple thing but it created such a beautiful plate of rice for us. Life is all about being happy. You don’t have to go for a $70 hotel buffet dinner and stuff yourself silly, just some simple comfort food does much more – that sense of satisfaction and satiation after this simple yet awesome meal was beyond description.
At the end, I requested to take a picture with Chef Kenny and he very humbly obliged –
Very glad to be able to have tried Chef Kenny’s dishes. Check out hubby and my post-dinner contented faces. And a BIG thank you to Chef Kenny and Mei Ping’s hospitality and generosity!
Pho Street (part of Select Group who also owns Peach Garden, Lerk Thai and many others) can be found at:
311 New Upper Changi Road #B1-40 Singapore 467360
Mon – Thurs : 11.00am – 10.00pm (Last Order at 9.30pm)
Fri – Sun : 11.00am – 10.30pm (Last Order at 10.00pm)
3 Gateway Drive #B2-K6/K7 Singapore 608532
Mon – Sun : 11:30am – 10:00pm (Last order at 9:30pm)