Viet Cafe, Battery Road
My mind has still been fixated on Vietnamese food for the past few days for some reason, so I have been coming to the Viet Cafe (6220-3215) at the basement of 6 Battery Road for relief. The basement? Yup...there's an outside entrance with big white signs just outside the stairway. If you can't find it, look for the crowd of ostracized smokers on the steps, wade through the cloud of carcinogens in the air, and descend down to the rather impressively large place.
They had a bunch of lunch sets on the menu that didn't look that attractive to me, so I'd been going more for the basics: pho (or, as stated on the menu, "Viet Noodle Soup"), bun ("Viet Vermicelli Bowl"), and fresh rice paper rolls. They all turned out a little better than I was expecting, as seen by the decently fresh rolls and a refreshing bowl of bun (dragon breath alert). It was still a far cry from ideal, but given the dearth of choices around, this was good enough.
The service here was a bit spotty though, which was surprising for a place that I would imagine were much more polished due to the busy office worker crowd nearby. I was also a bit bummed that the meat in the bun didn't have much of a grilled aroma, that the pho broth was on the boring side, and that they put all the bean sprouts into the pho themselves. But I guess that the last point was just to help facilitate the operations during the aforementioned busy lunch period. At least the food was was better than Hue and Orange Lantern. And yes, these guys do sell out of food on a busy day, so don't come too late if you decide to make your way here.