Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Orange Lantern Vietnamese Restaurant

Pho Dac Biet

The restaurant section in the back of Think magazine boldly claimed that this place (73 Killiney Road, 6732-8032, with other locations at Harbourfront and Hougang) had "the best pho and fried springrolls in town, hands down!" With that kind of a ringing endorsement in hand, I had to come down to see for myself. I had tried them under their old name, Pho Temptation, a number of years back, but without anything memorable to take back with me. I assume that they changed their name so as to avoid confusion with their competitor Pho 31 (a similarly forgettable place in my experience, including their sister Vientai) down the street? Hopefully the food had improved too so as to justify that claim.

Fresh Rice Paper RollsWishful thinking. The pho broth was a bit cold and bland, the meat slices were sliced on the thick side, and some of the pieces were disturbingly mushy. Their dac biet (meaning it should have everything in it) missed a number of other key items like tripe and tendon. The rice paper rolls would have been OK had they been made freshly (it was clear that they had been sitting around for a while as parts of the paper hardened a bit already). At least they got the soda chanh right (none of that nasty syrup stuff), although one could argue that they didn't provide enough sugar and lime to last the entire can of soda water.

The "best pho in town...hands down"? That's debatable. To be fair, I didn't try those fried springrolls, but given the rather unsatisfying meal that I had tonight, I'd rather go to Pho Hoa instead. Then again, Think magazine also had Bukhara still listed in there (they also erroneously listed Via Mar under the "South American" section). It looks like their directory is in need of some corrections.


Anonymous said...

The quality of food has gone waayyy down. Song Trang (behind Dhoby Gaut MRT) is better, but more expensive.

Ray said...

If u happen to drop by California again... go to San Jose... its a vietnamese town there!

bma said...

Yes, indeed.

Anonymous said...

They are always missing a couple of ingredients here and there. The last two times I ordered the dac biet, I had to ask for the tendons. They added it of course..but I won't be visting anymore.

Jeffree said...

Hey there, love your stuff... sorry the pho was bad when you went there for it, but hey, experiences may differ! We've been updating the food setion, and was just wondering if you might be interested in seeing yourstuff in print? as in being our food editor? Doesn't pay a lot in cash, but get to leverage that into some great meals at various restaurants! Write me back and let me know... you've got the talent, now bump up the audience!
jeff 9880

bma said...

Hey thanks for the offer. I'm honored, but I'll respectfully decline. Thanks for the compliments nonetheless, and good luck on the search!