Name of restaurant: Pho Stop
Type of Cuisine: Vietnamese
Casual Vietnamese eatery Pho Stop makes no bones about what it offers. Located just off Maxwell Road, the cosy diner is a new addition to the stretch of eateries along Tanjong Pagar road and serves up something different from everything else currently available in the area.
Warm, convivial and laid-back, the décor of Pho Stop is not what you’d expect to see from a Vietnamese eatery. To the average passer-by, the diner might at first come across as a contemporary bistro serving Western cuisine; complete with the rustic wood walls and vibrant red panelling. Look past that though, and you’ll notice Vietnamese artwork lining the walls and huge rice paper lanterns overhead.
Pho Stop’s signature is unsurprisingly their pho. The menu dedicates an entire section to the humble rice noodle itself, with an impressive seven different options of pho available.
The Beef Feast Combo, $8.90, is their most popular pho dish, and consists of thinly-sliced tender beef slices alongside plump beef balls floating in a briny, flavourful beef broth. As per usual practice in Vietnamese eateries, a side dish of fresh vegetables – consisting of beansprouts, chilli padi and a sprig of mint leaves – is served up along with the steaming bowl of pho.
What’s unique to Pho Stop is the sauce that accompanies their pho. Instead of the commonly seen fish sauce, the brick-red dipping sauce that is Pho Stop’s secret concoction is intriguing when eaten together with the beef, giving it a zing that is nothing like fish sauce.
Opt for the Grilled Pork Chop rice, $8.80, if you don’t feel like having pho; the pork chop is marinated in a blend of Vietnamese spices, grilled, and served with rice. Yet again, the homemade dipping sauce that accompanies this dish is pretty mind-blowing. Without the sauce, the pork chop is flavourful but somewhat sweet. Drizzle the sauce over the pork chop and the taste completely changes, becoming savoury with a hint of sweetness. Cooked perfectly, this is one dish you shouldn’t miss.
For sides, go for the Vietnamese Deep-Fried Spring Rolls, $5 for 4, which are filled with minced pork and yam and fried to a tantalizing golden-brown. Crunchy, warm and a perfect blend of tangy-savoury, this has to be our top pick from Pho Stop.
Don’t pass up on desserts even if you’re stuffed. The Café Liégois, $5.90, a Vietnamese coffee ice cream parfait, is heaven sent for coffee-lovers. A scoop of Vietnamese coffee ice cream is served up with a puddle of chilled espresso and finished with a splash of chocolate syrup; one mouthful is enough to give you a heady coffee buzz. Even non-coffee drinkers might take to this, because there is hardly any of the bitter aftertaste that is usually associated with coffee.
For hearty yet authentic Vietnamese food and an ambience that is laid-back and comforting, stop by for the next time you’re in the area, this is one eatery you won’t want to miss.
Pho Stop is located at 21 Tanjong Pagar Road #01-01, Singapore 088444.
Opening hours are Tuesday to Thursday 11.30 am to 11pm, Friday 11.30 am to 1am, and Saturday 5pm to 1am. Closed on Mondays and Sundays. Call 6221 4001 for reservations.