Nguyen Garden offers a nice room for a mid-priced, midweek meal on one of those nights when it’s too hot or you’re too tired to contemplate cooking. Concrete minimalism is softened by plenty of foliage. The green carries through to the dishes, with many served with their signature ‘green rice’. It’s a mildly-flavoured update where raw rice is stir-fried with garlic then cooked with ginger broth before being mixed with ground steamed spinach leaves to create its minty green colour. We tried our fried shallot-topped mound of green rice with a too-sweet and too mild (especially after being requested hot) edamame beef curry stew ($21) served in an earthenware pot.
Fresh greens are enjoyable when mixed through grilled lemongrass pork ($20), crisp spring rolls and vermicelli noodles which is stuffed with enough textural elements from fried shallots to lightly pickled carrot to keep you interested. Four vividly green vegan dumplings ($12/4) stuffed with mushrooms and chives had great texture and good favour against a requested pot of chilli sauce. I continued the green theming into my beverage: a pot of Japanese green tea ($5) that was weakly flavoured but stayed very hot in their two-storey cup and pot crockery. There are also fresh juices ($7) running from orange to young coconut, and you can also BYO.