The food revolution in Adelaide's north-east continues as Hoa Tam brings authentic Vietnamese and Thai food to Gilles Plains. It's been a dream of owners Khoa Do and Tram Le to open their own restaurant and their dream was realised almost two years ago. Since then, they've been steadily building a loyal and enthusiastic customer base by serving fresh and quickly prepared Vietnamese and Thai food, along with some Chinese favourites. Hoa Tam offers that good old unique and comforting Adelaide kind of Asian casual dining (think NNQ in the old days).
There's a huge range of dishes from Thai, Chinese, and Vietnamese cuisines but I can always gauge a Vietnamese kitchen by its beef noodle soup. I've had the pho here a couple of times and the soup broth at Hoa Tam is unique. I think they might have turned up the star anise a notch or two. It's different... good different. The kids menu features a kids pho too, listed as 'Noodle soup with meat." It's the first time my daughter has tried pho, and she loves it! Tonight I had Hoa Tam's signature 'Hoa Tam Spicy Beef.' It's tender beef with a lovely texture, served sizzling with chilli, onion, capsicum, and Hoa Tam's special sauce. The sauce is sweet and has tones of lemongrass. Not bad at all! The menu features plenty of local faves like satay sticks and pad thai, but they also have some different stuff, like beef wrapped in betel leaf, and jellyfish salad. I reckon you haven't lived until you've tried the happy conundrum of textures in a jellyfish salad.
The drinks menu features all the usual Vietnamese coffee and smoothie offerings. Tonight, it was clear that the fresh young coconut juice was the clear winner around the room. Hoa Tam is fully licensed and BYO wine is $10 corkage.
For something different for dessert we tried the crispy banana spring rolls. Two warm spring rolls stuffed with gooey banana were beautifully served with ice-cream and blueberries. Other desserts include sticky rice and that old chestnut, fried ice cream.
I've only ever had one other restaurant serve great tasting food as quickly as at Hoa Tam. Everyone's dishes arrived piping hot and just over five minutes after ordering!
This bodes well for their $9.90 lunch specials. You can choose from Vietnamese salad with chicken or beef, stir-fried meats in different styles with rice, and wok tossed noodle combinations. Vegetarian lunch options are available.