Mrs Pho is the one of the many in the wave of hipster restaurants gentrifying the Kampong Glam enclave. At first blush, a little Vietnamese hole-in-the-wall may not sound hipster, but the low-frills eatery, tricked out to look like a Vietnamese alleyway, is kitschy and artificial, almost gaudy. That said, it does resemble at the street stalls of Vietnam. Just a lot spiffier.
Though a squishy tiny place, service is speedy, friendly, and helpful. Our dishes arrived barely 5 minutes after orders were taken, in quick succession. The traditional fare at Mrs Pho may be a little clunky, but had a rustic, homestyled, authenticity to it.
The Hubs loved the Cha Gio ($3) Vietnam's answer to the Chinese spring roll. A lovely chunky texture, with wonderfully juicy porky flavours.
The Nem Nuong ($3.50) purportedly "Mama's secret recipe" of Hanoi pork meatballs, were decent, but failed to leave an impression, in light of the most amazeballs minced patties in Hanoi just earlier this year.
The Pho Ga ($7.90), a classic chicken noodle soup, loaded with an extra poached egg in broth, Trung Ga ($1), was delicate enough, but missing in richness of depth. A tip is to ask for extra lashings of basil and mint, essential in making it all come alive.
The Bun Bo Hue ($7.90), a hot and spicy beef noodle soup laden with stewed beef that was so-so, and a fantastic Vietnamese ham, was robust; its heartiness heightened by refreshing mint and basil leaves.
A must-try, the Bun Bo Xao Sa ($7.90), chilled rice noodles tossed in a peanut-onion dressing, and topped with beef slices stir-fried with lemongrass, was superb. This, with its clean and clear and crisp flavours, called for a revisit.
The Chanh Muoi ($2) a salted plum and lime juice made for a refreshing thirst quencher in the stifling heat of the afternoon, and Ca Phe Sua Da ($3), iced Viet coffee sweetened with condensed milk, was a bold and heady pick-me-up.
349 Beach Road
Tel: 6292 0018
Open Mondays to Saturdays from 11am to 10pm;
Closed on Sundays