Thursday, November 25, 2010

24 years of Kim Thanh Restaurant

Being a food blogger is hard work, but it does have it's perks. Sometimes people are kind enough to invite us along to stuff. You know, events, tastings, openings an the like. It is always lovely to be asked to anything but on Monday night, I was lucky enough to be invited to a very special event- a celebration of 24 years in the business for a family owned and run Vietnamese Restaurant in West End. 

Chef Bao La, son of Chieu Lu and Cuong La organised and catered the event, along with help from other family members. And what a fabulous event it was.

Surrounded by loyal clientele, and many supportive friends and family, the night celebrated the achievements and good times at Kim Thanh restaurant. At the end of the evening, after a really beautiful, extravagant 5 course meal, it was revealed that next year, after 25 years, Chieu and Cuong will be closing their doors. Ok people, lets put this in perspective. 25 YEARS! Oh my gosh! Longer than my life time! And from what was said, it hasn't been easy- they have been through some tough years, 2 and a half fires and many other dramas that go with running a restaurant.

This was obviously an emotional announcement, but it was so incredibly heart warming to see the response from patrons who spoke about Chieu and Cuong (and their kids) as though they were family. They also received a standing ovation with several rounds of 'cheers'ing- really lovely!! It's obvious they have a strong following, and with the quality of the food that was served on Monday night, it's not hard to see why.

I want to thank Bao for inviting me to attend. I really enjoyed myself, the food was amazing and it was just so nice to see a family run restaurant that has done so well, obviously managing to capture the hearts of the fickle dining market.

Bao works at Kim Thanh, and after the closure, I'm not sure what his next move is, but can't wait to find out. I hope his talking about a Viet Street Style Restaurant (wooo hooo) wasn't idle twitter chitter! I know I, and many other Brisbane food lovers will hold him to this!

1st course: Nem Nuong Cuon Cham Tuong Hue 
Grilled pork rice paper rolls with dipping sauce

There were so fresh. The pork was tender and there was a fruity surprise wrapped up in the noodles that added a really nice element. 

2nd Course: Goi Ngo Sen Tom Thit
Pickled lotus stem salad with prawn and pork belly - served with prawn cracker chips.

Oh my gosh- I need to work on my Vietnamese pronunciations, because if I ever go to Vietnam, I want to order this. Without a doubt, my favourite dish of the night. The pickled lotus stem was a mixture of sweet and sour, heat from the chillis, elegance from the prawns and plump pork. Also, eating on the crackers was delicious. I will be learning how to cook this hopefully. One of the best Vietnamese dishes I have ever had!

3rd Course: Mi Vit Tiem
Master stock cooked duck with egg noodles in Chinese herb broth 

Loved the sumptuous duck, egg noodles, broth and greens. At first I wasn't so sure about the plums ( at least I think they were a version of plum)- I haven't had them served like this before and their texture and flavour took a bit of getting used to, but once I had tasted a couple, I could see they worked with the dish.

4th Course: Bo Luc Lac
Wok tossed black angus with dalat salad and tomato rice

This was a really lovely last course before dessert. The beef was tender, the rice and moreish and the salad was DELISH. Seriously, what is Dalat?  It sounds like a region in Vietnam? I have to find out what this simple salad was dressed with. So sweet and vinegary and incredibly fresh. I could have licked it off the lettuce. It's funny how simple things like salad dressing stick in your memory as outstanding.

5th Course: Dua Nuong Trai Vai Ca Rem
Roasted coconut and lychee ice cream

Couldn't have any of this one- you know- the whole allergic to ice cream thing?! I thought I wouldn't mind, because I am used to peeps consuming ice cream in front of me, but people around me were GROANing in delight. Mean thing to do to me tweeps! I believe it was amazing! Lucky I was already quite content, my belly filled with food.

Seriously, do yourself a favour and make sure you pop into Kim Thanh before they close and have some of the gorgeous Viet food on the menu. I'm hoping to even snare a few recipes from Bao to share with you.

Congratulations to Chieu and Cuong. What an amazing contribution to Brisbane's dining scene!

Tell me readers:  Do you know any awesome family run restaurants?

Kim Thanh
93 Hardgrave Road
West End QLD 4101
07 3225 1001

Kim Thanh on Urbanspoon

8 fabulous comments:

mademoiselle délicieuse said...

Nawww...I love family-run restaurants. And when you see the now adult kids working there, you know they've grown up helping out in the kitchen and doing their homework on dining tables before the place opens for dinner service. Makes the food so much richer and lovely.

The InTolerant Chef said...

Family run are often the best. We have a couple of places where we watch the kiddies grow up and it's a lovely connection.

Indie.Tea said...

It sounds like a great restaurant. I really like those unpretenious family-run places....

Julia @Mélanger said...

Closing? This is one of my go to places in West End. I'll have to get back there before they close their doors. Sad......

Ladybird said...

Vietnamese food rocks, especially vegetarian vietnamese - I love the fresh flavours and colours :) Yum!

Anna Johnston said...

Vietnamese food is so, so good & family run restaurants like this one are so fantastic as you know the kids have been hanging out there in the restaurant most of their lives. Thanks for sharing, a lovely post.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Mmm I love Vietnamese food and I find a lot of Vietnamese restaurants are run by families-a good thing indeed! :)

Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! said...

Family run restaurants are great no matter what, it just makes the whole experience so much more enjoyable, especially when you just want a nice casual dinner out.

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