93 Hardgrave Road, West End
As creatures of urbanity, it was through a series of unpredicted, unplanned events that Marc and I ended up spending a night on a farm near the glasshouse mountains. We rarely drive to the suburbs in Brisbane, let alone anywhere quite that remote but I have mum and dad to thank for that adventure.
To prepare for our trip, we purchased a whole lot of food and snacks from the supermarket, plus alcohol a plenty. We figured that if there were no stores/restaurants nearby, we wouldn't starve to death or need to resort to milking a cow. It ended up being much more food than required but that's what 2 apprehensive, hunger-threatened city peeps will do when faced with the possibility of not having access to food. We treated going to the farm like stocking up for a bomb threat.
Before the long journey, we fueled up (our bodies, not our vehicle) at a local Vietnamese restaurant. I had half a mind to go to Trang, since I was in the mood for pho and I liked the food there, but when we parked, I saw a couple of other Asian restaurants I hadn't tried. My duty as a food blogger to try new places dominated and we chose Linh's Restaurant.
I think we went at about 2pm-ish, so it was late for lunch and there weren't many other people in the restaurant. As claimed, the menu had many classic Vietnamese and Chinese dishes. We stuck to Vietnamese cuisine.
Pork and prawn rice paper rolls
For starters, Marc and I shared some pork and prawn rice paper rolls and chicken satay skewers. The rice paper rolls were huge and what I liked most about them was how full they were of actual pork and prawn, rather than just a slice near the surface and the rest of the volume comprising of rice noodles (which is often the case). Rice paper rolls don't tend to make an impression on me but these did for that reason. Yum!
Chicken satay skewers
Marc ordered the satay skewers because I had a sudden craving the night before and was going on, and on about them. These were oily but delicious. The satay flavoring was very authentic, with lots of lemongrass and spice, and the meat was coated in a creamy peanut sauce.
I was already full after the entrees so I was glad that my bowl of pho wasn't as big as I normally see at other Vietnamese eateries. It was still huge but usually, the bowls are like... washing basins. With this serve, not only did it seem smaller but there was less noodles too. My pho was disappointing for me. The flavor of the broth just seemed watery and bland. The components were OK (though the herbs weren't fresh) but the broth is such an important part of the pho experience that I just left it alone. No amount of sauce addition improved the taste.
Spicy beef noodle soup
Marc went for the spicy noodle soup himself. He had no such complaints, scoffing down most of his dish (and mine as well once he got through his). I tried a bit of his soup and thought it was better than mine.
I have mixed feelings about Linh's Restaurant because the entrees were great but the pho was a let down. On one hand, I had some of the best rice paper rolls in a long time, on the other, pho that near ressembled dish water. I would forgive any other one bad dish but pho is such an important part of Vietnamese cuisine and something that I usually order so I don't know if I would chance Linh's version again.