Some Vietnamese restaurants in Adelaide provide a bit of a lacklustre experience. Vietnamese cuisine is fresh and vibrant; while it has evolved thanks to the inspiration and influence of many other cuisines, many of its dishes are truly unique. This is why its such a shame to see restaurants that only serve a range of same-same stir fries amongst the obligatory options of roll-your-own rolls and combination rice. Little NNQ is definitely an exception.
Little NNQ comes from good roots. The sister store to one of Adelaide's most popular Vietnamese restaurants, the suburban Nghi Ngan Quan, it's not really surprising that this new Gouger Street store is putting up such good fare.
At lunch the menu is simpler. Lots of soups--offering more than just your regular Vietnamese pho--like pho dac biet, bun bo hue, and mi viet tiem. It's a good indicator of things to come, and highlights Little NNQ as the place to visit if you're looking to expand on stock standard menu items. At lunch there is also a range of rice and noodle dishes, but nothing compared to the dinner menu.
Little NNQ is one of those places where sharing is best. The menu is full of interesting options and the best way to try them all is to eat with friends. Entrees start with things like sticky rice with pork floss, savoury rice cakes, or Vietnamese quail, but you'll have the most fun with the roll-your-own cold rolls. Choose from things like sugarcane prawns, grilled pork skewers, or Vietnamese fish cakes.
The duck and banana blossom salad is a highlight of the menu; the duck is sweet and moist while the banana blossom adds a fresh crunch. Hearty dishes like the caramelised pork belly with eggs are alongside lighter options like tamarind fried snapper and chilli salt squid.
Desserts include things like Vietnamese baked banana cake, sweet corn sticky rice, coconut creme caramel and chia with coconut jelly. There's also a pretty unique list of drinks, including a cocktail with chilli and fish sauce.
Little NNQ continues the tradition from Nghi Ngan Quan of delivering some of the best Vietnamese food in Adelaide, but it does so in a slightly fancier package (although not for much longer as Ngi Ngan Quan is getting a facelift). The fit out is modern and quite stylish. Little NNQ might have a legacy behind it, but it's proving it's got more than enough quality to hold its own.