Hot Plate: Jimmy Wah's, Burleigh Heads

Mural of Jimmy Wah

Mural of Jimmy Wah

This bright new Vietnamese eatery at Burleigh Heads punches above its weight in the flavour stakes.

There are tunes from the '60s and '70s on rotation and a mural of Jimmy Wah from '80s film classic Good Morning, Vietnam dominates one wall, but this mod Vietnamese newcomer is firmly in 2016.

With polished concrete flooring and American oak furniture (a mix of high and low tables) to the eye-catching backlit bar along its back wall, it's unfussy, smart dining, with proper linen napkins, decent glassware and no corners cut. A pared-back, nicely balanced menu is as detailed as the airy fit-out.

The easiest approach is via a generous "feed me" sharing menu ($59 per person), weighing in at seven dishes. Taut-skinned rice paper rolls bulge with local prawns and a herb-amped vermicelli salad, while bowls of pho bo arrive bearing dense, intensely savoury oxtail-based stock with just the right amount of brisket, coriander and chilli. Kingfish sashimi is delicate yet flavour-forward, the pink-tinged flesh dotted with tiny crisp onion rings and zinged up with a coconut, Thai basil and finger lime dressing that packs a whack of chilli heat. Service is well paced, the floor-staff rocking pale-grey culottes and linen shirts, the shiny green suit of the fictional Jimmy Wah nowhere to be seen.

A slightly one-dimensional king prawn curry is overburdened with coconut milk and lacks the punch of earlier efforts, but slices of rosy duck breast scattered with puffed rice, micro-shiso, yuzu and young ginger kick things back into gear.

Thirsty? Cocktails take their cue from the kitchen with the likes of a spiced rum Bubble Mai-Chai Tea and Viet Daiquiri and more on pour, or grab an icy can of Da Noi. The wine list, like the rest of the offer, punches above its weight.

Jimmy Wah's, 1724 Gold Coast Hwy, Burleigh Heads, Qld, (07) 5659 1180, www.jimmywahs.com.au


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