Hearty and authentic, pho.dle.bar has recently opened its doors right beside the PREMIERE cinema at ELEMENTS, with its sister Italian restaurant, Cafe Deco Pizzeria, taking over what used to be Pantry, a restaurant famous for its Japanese pancakes.
The restaurant decoration is modern and simple with wooden chairs and leather booths, and having such a convenient location, it’s a decent choice over junk food before or after catching a flick.
There is quite a large variety on the menu, and sections are split into pho, bun chay, hot noodle soup and stir-fried rice and noodles, as well as house specials and a variety of fun Vietnamese drinks.
Pulled pork wraps
Creative and contemporary, some of our favourite dishes included the pork ribs with plum and tamarind with crisp salad and puffed wild rice ($158), which, despite being a little overcooked, were sweet, sticky and a bit tart. We’re still reminiscing about that delicious sauce. And the slow-cooked pulled pork with Asian slaw and wheat pancake wraps with honey and hoisin sauce ($78), essentially a twist on Peking duck, was another winner.
Another dish we loved sharing was the fried organic brown rice with prawn, lime leaf and crispy shallot ($148), but beware – this dish can get quite spicy. Using the healthier carb alternative of brown rice, the green curry sauce prevents the rice from drying out while preserving its chewy texture. Prawns, red bell pepper, Thai basil, chilli, shredded lemongrass and ginger are added to the dish, as well as non-typical Asian vegetables such as asparagus and Spanish onion. Aromatic, spicy and not to mention healthy, this dish goes well with single- meat dishes such as the pork ribs or is great on its own.
If you’re craving some comfort food, we recommend ordering the beef short rib pho ($128). The pho itself could use a few more slices of beef, but the soup is aromatic and full of flavour, combining ginger, star anise, cinnamon and cardamom with beef bones, cooked for more than six hours.
On the other hand, the lemongrass bun chay ($82) is filled with tender, thin beef slices mixed with tamarind and served over a bed of soft rice noodles. Satisfying and not too heavy, this bun chay is quite large and made for sharing.
Chilled roasted eggplant
Pomelo and prawn salad
The dishes that need some tweaking include the chilled roasted eggplant with dill, apple and peanut ($68). The eggplant soaked up too much of the fish sauce and was too acidic on the tongue. The pomelo and prawn salad with kale, dried shrimp, peanut and crispy shallot ($75) would benefit from more lime in the dressing.
If you have room for sweets, a must-try is the mango and coconut crêpe with tapioca pearl and sweet floss ($58). We loved the way in which pho.dle.bar has harmonised the French crêpe with tropical ingredients. Fragrant and filled with different flavour profiles, this dessert was such a treat – a great way to end our dinner.
Some of the dishes at pho.dle.bar didn’t hit the mark and could use some tweaking, but otherwise the restaurant presents some fresh Vietnamese eats. It’s not all noodles, rice and carbs here, and the choices overall are quite healthy (there’s minimal fried food on the menu). It’s convenient if you work at ICC or need to grab something quick before a film – when the other options are probably processed cheese nachos or a hot dog!
Shop 2132, 2/F, ELEMENTS, 1 Austin Road West, TST, 2196 8175
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
For more reviews like this, like Foodie on Facebook