My best food scout was doing his usual patrols and noticed that a Vietnamese restaurant had opened in Garema Place so we had to check it out.

Pork and prawn rice paper rolls: $5

The dish photographed way better than it tasted. Each roll was fairly large but consisted mostly of chopped lettuce and I could not taste any fragrant Vietnamese herbs. About halfway into the roll, I noticed a discoloured piece of lettuce...oh wait, nope. It was a sliver of sliced pork that was stuck onto the lettuce. The pork was sliced so thinly (and only one slice in the roll) that I couldn't even taste the pork. It would have been preferable to have a much smaller roll with better pork/prawn to lettuce ratio.

Rare beef noodle soup: $11.50

First things first, I've had much better pho than this. It's the broth that makes it for me and this one was underwhelming in flavour and overwhelming in the amount of oil layered on top of the soup. For some reason, the soup wasn't particularly hot either. I like my hot soups to be hot, especially when I've made the effort to brave the chilly Canberra weather.

On the bright side, there was a decent amount of beef and I enjoyed the crunch of the freshly sliced onion. I also have to give credit for the variety of sauces available on each table (hoisin, chilli sauce, fish sauce). I did also like that the pho was accompanied by the usual plate of bean sprouts, chilli and very fragrant basil.

This place may still be settling in as it has only been open a week or so but given the central location and the lack of Vietnamese places on offer in the Civic area, there may not be much incentive to lift the quality of the food.

Food Avenue Rating: 5.5/10

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