57 Corsair Ave, Inala
Just bought a car recently. Well, not that recently but in scale with how infrequently I've been uploading this blog, it's quite recent. It was a bit of a fiasco picking up the beast because I actually don't have my license (pause for scoffing and snide laughter) so I had to recruit two friends to act as drivers.
One of them was my uni friend Ellen who I hardly ever see now that we're all split up on placement. We planned to catch up over lunch after I got my car sorted out. As for where to eat, it was an easy decision because Ellen wanted to prove where she thought the best pho in Brisbane was.
I left my new acquisition at home and Ellen drove us to Inala (Byron bailed due to nerdy uni commitments). Despite having lived out West, I had only been to Inala shops maybe once before. For those who haven't visited, there's the standard shopping center building and behind it, a courtyard market area that doesn't even feel like it's within Australia. I get a genuine Asian vibe walking through there.
Tan Thanh is off to the side (vague directions I know but honestly, I have no idea) and my first impression was that it was PACKED. The entrance is small and easy to miss but there were tonnes of tables inside and it seemed completely full. We were very lucky to be squeezed into a table for two.
The clientele seems mostly Vietnamese, if that's any indication of authenticity. The menu is extensive. We ordered a couple of drinks and a meal item each.
Ellen had chosen a lemon tea drink which was quite nice, strong and refreshing. My iced white coffee was also very strong and I'm not sure if it contained real espresso but it did taste as though it wasn't just coffee syrup. I don't think Ellen liked it much (her feedback was "it's 'different'") but I thought it was a nice drink.
Having been promised Brisbane's best pho, I wasn't going to order anything else. I chose the most standard pho item - beef noodle soup without any trimmings. The serving was huge and there was a lot of meat floating on the top. Since I'm not a pho connoisseur, those are the only things I can really comment on... I mean, the flavor seemed good to me (they all taste the same?) and there was a lot of content. The beef slices were nice and tender. Thumbs up.
Ellen ordered the hu tieu which seems to be her usual pick (judging from the limited occasions we've had Vietnamese food together) and her reasoning is that it has a better soup base flavor. I think the noodles are different too.
I actually thought Tan Thanh was great. It's really everything you'd want from an eatery: extensive menu, fast service, large servings, good flavor and cheap. I wish it was closer to me because it's one of those places I'd definitely visit on a regular basis.