Review: Trang Restaurant (Brisbane, QLD)

2/59 Hardgrave Road
West End QLD 4101
+61 7 3255 1610
http://trangrestaurant.com.au/

When I’m in Queensland, I don’t bother going out for Vietnamese food. I’ve eaten at a handful of Vietnamese restaurants in Gold Coast and none of them serve the real deal. Disappointingly, the majority of them serve pho that’s been sweetened to the point of no recognition – and for that reason, I usually wait until I’m back in Melbourne or Sydney for my pho fix.

The night I was due to fly to Europe, though, I decided that I wanted pho. It was going to be a while until I get my fix and I wanted it right then and there. My flight was leaving from Brisbane Airport, but not until after midnight, so I decided to swing into town for my favourite Vietnamese dish. With my friend Brad agreeing to eat whatever I wanted in exchange for a lift to the airport, I thought it was a sweet deal. And so we went to his favourite Vietnamese restaurant, Trang.

Trang has been serving West End residents for a number of years now and people continue to return for its no-nonsense Vietnamese food, lively atmosphere and fast service. And given that we live in Queensland, half the menu consists of suburban Chinese dishes but hey, you’re catering to the locals after all…

 Spring rolls ($7.90)
Spring rolls ($7.90)

Speaking of which, we started off with spring rolls. They were nothing special, but adequate fillers to nibble on while we caught up on gossip and AFL talk (it’s so refreshing to meet a Queenslander who does know a thing about footy).

Special combination bun ($13.90)
Special combination bun ($13.90)

Brad was like, “I had this really, really nice dish the last time I was here – but I couldn’t remember what it was called! It had thin white noodles, chopped up spring rolls and a whole bunch of random thi-“

Bun.” I said. “And most likely the combination bun. If I’m wrong, I’ll buy you a drink.”

I was right, though (saved). Trang’s combination bun came adorned with chopped spring rolls, crispy skin chicken and grilled pork as well as fresh herbs. I didn’t get to try any of it – Brad polished it all off before I could get around to doing it.

Pho tai ($10.90)
Pho tai ($10.90)

At just over $10, Trang’s pho would be in the slightly higher end of the price spectrum in Melbourne (but not by much). However, I thought this was just about right for Queensland. There was a reasonable amount of complexity and depth in the broth and, much to my delight, none of these pour half a container of sugar on me business. I also loved that they used thicker-than-normal rice noodles – the thicker the better, I say (while trying hard not to snicker). One thing I didn’t like though was the use of red onions instead of traditional onions – is this a Queensland thing or something?

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It won’t win any awards on Victoria or Hopkins Street, but it’ll definitely do.

At least while I was in Europe.

I eat too much.

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