The first thing I noticed about Pho Tai at Capitol Piazza was its people – the owners and some of the kitchen staff (I peeked through an opening) looked well, pioneer generation. Sorry for generalising, as I was quite used to the Singapore-husband Vietnamese-wife combination seen in local restaurants.
Turned out this family-owned Vietnamese restaurant had its origins from Paris. The Vietnam-born Chinese family moved to Paris during the 70s to find safety during times of war, and subsequently started Pho Tai in the city of romance.
When asked if there is a difference between their Viet pho and a Parisian-influenced one, the owner said that noodles sold in Vietnam may not contain as much meat and herbs, and relied more heavily on the noodles. Also, the soup bases in Vietnam may not be as rich.
To make their soup richer, premium ingredients such as beef meat, bones, and herbs are boiled for hours fresh every day.
Neither industrial beef stock nor any powdered “pho” mix were used, which the owner commented that some restaurants in Singapore do use unfortunately.
The signature items include Beef Steak Slices and Combination Pho ($9.90), Steamed Rice Pancake Rolls ‘Banh Cuon’ ($7.80), Fresh Spring Rolls ($4.80). Marinated Beef Vermicelli ‘Bo Bun’ ($12.80), Red beans with Coconut Milk ($6.00) and Banana and Coconut Milk ($4.30). FYI, the dessert is warm.
This is one of the few Pho in Singapore that I thoroughly enjoyed – the soup looking light and clear, yet flavourful, not the type that would make you quench in thrist.
Beef slices and tendon were tender, though my friend wished there were some balls of sort. Pho Tai added that they did not use beef balls because they try to minimise the usage of any kind of process food in their dishes.
We shared a bowl of Dry Vermicelli with marinated pork ($12.80), with specially made fish sauce poured over. All of us loved it (though I found it tad salty) and thought that sauce was downright addictive.
That same sauce was used on their Banh Cuon ($7.80) – silky steamed rice pancake rolls that you seldom see in commercialised Vietnamese restaurants here, reminding us of the Cantonese chee cheong fun.
While Pho Tai may not be as polished, we liked it homely style offerings and I can safely say, they offer one my favourite pho in Singapore.
Capitol Piazza #B2-54, 13 Stamford Road Singapore 178906 (City Hall MRT)
Tel: +65 67021181
Opening Hours: 11.30am – 9.30pm
* Daniel’s Food Diary pays for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.