Good Eats

Red Sparrow @ Dempsey

In the laid back cluster in Dempsey is a nice Vietnamese restaurant that I wasn’t aware that existed until recently.

The decor was distinctly influenced by the Vietnamese culture, with murals of Vietnamese girls in the traditional ao dai and gaudy red and yellow on the walls.

Chef Koh helming the kitchen operations

Head Chef Jeff Koh started his culinary journey at the young age of 17. Chef Jeff has worked at a number of renowned establishments in the F&B industry. He further honed his culinary skills during his time in Vietnam, where he learned the ropes from street vendors in Ho Chi Minh.⁠

Phở Dặc Biệt

mixture of beef balls, thinly sliced beef, brisket, tripe and tendon

Phở Dặc Biệt

When it comes to Vietnamese food, the first thing that comes to mind is pho. Known as Vietnam’s national dish, this popular bowl of noodles is served in households, street stalls and restaurants across the country, and is the best known single item on the Vietnamese menu all around the world. And most of the version we eat is the South Vietnam pho made popular by the diaspora of Saigon. This was a really good beef pho with all the trimmings.

Phở Gà

boneless chicken leg and house special chicken meatballs

Phở Gà

For who doesn’t take beef, there’s the chicken pho. The same spices were used for the stock, except that it didn’t have beef bones to build the flavours. I prefer the beef pho hands down.

Bánh Khọt 

mini rice pancakes with minced pork, spring onions, coconut cream, tiger prawns, fresh herbs and lettuce to wrap

Bánh Khọt

I learnt how to make these divine snacks when I was on a holiday to Hoi An. While they may looked simple, they have complex layers of flavours from the umami from the fish sauce to the spices used to sautéed the minced pork to simple sweetness of the prawns and savoury of the pancakes. Must order starter vs the larger pancake.

Phần Ăn

A Choice of any 3 varieties of rolls above. Each choice comes with 2 rolls and dedicated sauces

Phần Ăn
  • Gỏi Cuốn – Fresh rolls with braised pork, tiger prawns with a black and yellow bean sauce
  • Nem Chua Cuốn – Fresh rolls with house cured pork sausage with a sweet and spicy fish sauce
  • Bò Bía – Fresh rolls with Chinese and Vietnamese sausages, egg, jicama, pickled carrots with peanuts and hoisin sauce

Bông Thiên Lý Xào Tôm

stir fried tokin jasmine flower and beansprouts

Bông Thiên Lý Xào Tôm

I love tokin jasmine flowers in soup and I was introduced to them as a sautéed vegetable. Now this is my favourite method of preparing tokin jasmin flowers.

Sò Điệp Nướng Mỡ Hành

pan-seared king scallops, pickled carrots, spring onions, roasted peanuts and a chilli lime dressing

Sò Điệp Nướng Mỡ Hành

OK, the scallops were not outstanding, just simply pan fried.

Tôm Nương

chargrilled tiger prawns in a sweet and spicy fish sauce glaze with roasted tomatoes, capers and garlic

On the other hand, the grilled prawns were really good with the condiments and spices used to marinade and flavour the huge tiger prawns. I especially liked the caramelised sweet and savoury sauce on the prawn shells. So I would simply bite into one of these prawns, shell and all, and then worked the shell off the flesh.

And to wash down the desserts we ordered two classic Vietnamese drinks – Chanh muối (L, salted pickled lime) and Cà Phê Sữa Đá (R, iced Vietnamese drip coffee with condensed milk). The salted pickled lime reminded me of the pickled kumquat that I used to buy during the stops along the trips to KL. The Viet coffee was too sweet.

Chuối Nướng Nước Cốt Dừa

banana glutinous rice grilled in banana leaf with coconut cream sauce

Chuối nướng nước cốt dừa

Good combinations of sweet (coconut cream) and savoury (black glutinous rice), hot (banana fritters) and cold (ice cream) in a single dessert.

Cà Phê Bánh Rán

homemade Vietnamese coffee donuts with coffee glaze and chocolate ice cream.

Cà phê bánh rán

Bite-sized donuts with a Viet coffee glaze. Yummilicious!

What I really like is that this place is pet friendly. Now I can bring Rosie along our Sunday lunches.

Red Sparrow Vietnamese Restaurant
11 Dempsey Road #01-18 Singapore 249673
Tel : +65 6776 6118

Visited Nov 2022

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