People have been raving on about how good Nghi Ngan Quan (NNQ) is for years, but after an average experience at Little NNQ, I was in no rush to see what all the fuss was about. Fast forward 12 months and there’s been a lot of hype in the media about NNQ moving to their new location on Woodville Road. Having a friend that lives nearby, it was a good chance to kill two birds with one stone, by catching up with her and checking out NNQ at the same time.
When I think Vietnamese restaurants out in the western suburbs, I think of a small place that is old, dirty and run down. While I had never visited their old restaurant, this new one is none of those things. Set in an old bank building, the decor is a clever mix of old and new. The imposing high ceilings, the exposed air conditioning duct, the over sized low hanging light fittings and the wine storage that acts as a section divider. There’s plenty of seating including an outdoor dining area, as well as lots of parking next door.
To keep things to a high standard, their menu is just as impressive. Presented in a nice glossy colour book, there are professional photos (that even I would be proud of) as well as both English and Vietnamese descriptions of their offerings. With 17 pages of menu it’s no wonder they had to create a book! I could tell they had simplified it as much as they could with the menu divided into DIY cold rolls, entrees, combination rice, pho, vermicelli soups and salads, egg and rice noodles, DIY grills, steamboats, soups and your various proteins. It’s fairly comprehensive if you ask me!
For my entree, I had the Crispy Quail. This was simply amazing! The quail was well marinated, and nice and crispy on the outside. As you would expect, there’s not much meat on the quail, but for what little there was, it was really juicy and succulent.
My friend had the Satay Chicken Skewers for entree. The chicken was lightly fried and the meat was tender and succulent. The satay sauce had a thick consistency with lots of crunchy peanut pieces.
For the main, I had the Broken Rice with Roast Pork and Crackling. For once, I was pleased to see a place that advertises broken rice, actually serve it. The cut of pork belly used in this dish was of a high quality. Perfectly crunchy skin, a large proportion of meat and very little fat. The pork was really well marinated, and each bite of the crackling skin was like going to heaven.
My friend had the Clay Pot Pork Belly with Egg. This is a personal favourite dish of mine as I grew up eating it, and I must say, it was executed perfectly. The pork was soft and tender, and very well caramelised. The boiled egg had had enough time soaking into juices such that the surface had a nice golden brown colour.
I must say it wasn’t a completely perfect night but it was close to it. With the length of the lines going out the door, this place is immensely popular and the staff were doing their best under the stressful situation. They did forget to bring me my drink, but that was the only hiccup for the night. For some reason, they only take bookings if you come in a group of 6 or more.
I’ve read comments about how their prices have gone up since they moved to the new location. For me, the cost of an entree and main was only $20 which is a bargain considering the portion sizes, the quality of the dishes and the execution. If you include the setting and the service, I actually don’t mind paying a bit more if you compare it to an equivalent dilapidated version of this place.
Some people have suggested that this is the best Vietnamese restaurant in Adelaide. Based on tonight’s meal, I would have to agree.
WHERE: 65 Woodville Rd, Woodville