TQR located on Stirling Highway in Nedlands is a popular, noisy Vietnamese restaurant, priding itself on authentic flavours and sincere service. I'd been recommended it a number of times before, but this was the first time I had entered its doors.
We were a party of seven, and had decided on a banquet because we were all mums and sick of making decisions: sometimes it's easier for someone else to make choices for us.
There are two banquets available at TQR, both require a minimum of four people. The $30 a head includes two starters, five mains plus steamed rice and tea or coffee. The $35 a head has all that plus an extra starter and dessert (fruit salad with lychees).
The three starters came out together, one piece per person: a tasty chicken ball which was minced chicken with ginger and coriander, fried and served with sweet chilli sauce; a Ceremony rice paper rolls, two prawns wrapped in a rice paper roll with bean shoots, lettuce, mint, pork and served with Hoisin sauce and large prawn wrapped in a wonton wrapper and fried.
The chicken and cashew nuts was tasty although nothing extraordinary. The prawns in a crispy noodle basket looked pretty spectacular, but it was pretty light on with the prawns (about 1 and a half per person) and it is a very messy dish to eat: we were flicking bits of sauce covered crispy noodle all over the place. Kids would love it.
The curry vegetables … well that's what the menu says, I thought it was satay bean curd and vegetables, was the best of the lot – spicy with a little bit of heat, lots of lovely sauce to drizzle over the rice. Bean curd isn't everyone's favourite, but it was the one dish I wanted to take home.
The only thing I had an issue with was the absurd situation where there were so many plates on the table (10 main dishes, plus a large bowl of rice, plus sauce bowls, plus our own bowls and plates - oh, and about four bottles of wine). There was literally no room to eat. We were shifting things off the table onto the floor. If you like to have space when you eat, I wouldn't recommend the banquet. Nor if you have small children at the table.
The big yellow, green and orange logo on the wall seems a little incongruous, reminding me a bit of the Black Panther logo from the militant 1960s movement. I know it's got nothing to do with it, but considering it's not even the colours of the Vietnamese flag, it just jars a little. The rest of the décor is simple enough, lots of hand-painted abstract canvasses, and big fish tank. It's a comfortable, casual space, nothing fancy, but you're here for the food, not the décor.
The menu is extensive, and full of all the fresh and clean flavours the Vietnamese are known for. Crisp salads, warming soups, specialised vegetarian dishes and curries.