Nguyễn’s Kitchen, 4/296 Oxley Rd, Graceville QLD
We began our meal with Spring Rolls, which turned out not to be the best choice. The vegetables were minced so finely they lacked a clear taste, and the accompanying chilli sauce was sweet and no more than generic. Thereafter, things were much better. The Fried Tofu Banh consists of a French baguette generously stuffed with lightly fried tofu and a range of salad ingredients, all beautifully fresh, with sliced red chilli at the side. Equally successful was the similarly named Tofu Bun, in which the different ingredients come in a large round bowl, a bit like the way they do in a thali. Here are warm rice noodles, more tofu and spring rolls (this time small ones), their flavour enhanced by peanuts and fried crushed onion, more fresh salad with mint and coriander, and, in the middle, a container of (hoisin?) sauce, which helps camouflage the taste of the only ingredient I don’t like, raw sprouts.
The Vietnamese have pulled off the feat of adding Western, in particular French, elements (European-style bread, fresh salad) to an East Asian cuisine. This is beautiful food, charmingly served on this modest but impressive suburban eatery.