Some worthy restaurants go under the radar, which is kind of a waste. I have visited Saigon Alley occasionally, a Vietnamese casual concept located in Novena Gardens, and thought it was not too bad.
The menu is said to be inspired by the traditional recipes from Hanoi, featuring comforting home style Vietnamese delights inspired by the street food of Vietnam.
So you can expect familiar Viet street food of Pho ($14), Banh Mi ($7 – $9), Spring Rolls ($8 – $10), and other side dishes. But no, they have not achieved ”Nam Nam” popularity status yet.
The interior shouted of modern industrial, graffiti art on the wall, with lights throwing out hues of purple and red at night.
Songs played are a mixture of English Top 40s (from a few years ago), and Vietnamese tear-jerkers like Cô Bé Mùa Đông.
The servers hummed along, and by the way, they also did a competent job in introducing the dishes.
Food wise, the emphasis is on the modern usage of fresh ingredients, and strong flavours like mint, coriander, Thai chilli, fish sauce, and many secret herbs & spices to add depth to the dishes.
I suspect that most diners would find the Combination Beef Pho ($14) too light and understated in terms of the broth. But I thought that was refreshing in a different way, and allowed for other ingredients to shine through.
Well, there are always chilli and fish sauce to bring out the taste – in typical Singaporean dining fashion.
Both times, the server recommended the Spicy Australian Beef Noodles ($14), which would probably be a 2-3/10 in terms of spicy level.
This is said to have originated from the central city of Hue, cooked with a 8-hour beef broth, using a round type of rice noodles (similar to the laksa noodles, but harder).
Due to its strong flavours, this would appeal more to a larger audience.
273 Thomson Road, Novena Gardens, Singapore 307644 (Novena MRT)
Opening Hours 12pm to 3pm last order at 2pm, 6pm to 11pm (last order at 10pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun