It doesn't get much more casual than Vietnamese snacks eaten in the open air. Or, to be specific in this case, eaten in a laneway behind a repurposed shipping container in what used to be a car park. Even the gritty overhead train line off to one side somehow feels right. But ambience aside, it's the extras you don't encounter in every street-side joint that will encourage diners to say "xin chao" here more than once.
Seasoned staff ferry dishes promptly to communal picnic tables. There's drinks-of-the-day - a mandarin and Aperol-laced gin concoction say, or a lychee orange-blossom "Martini" - and decent glassware to hold them. Co-owner Maris Cook has put time in at Melbourne's Gingerboy and MoVida, and is a former manager at Woolloongabba favourite Pearl. Colleague Dan Ward is behind Ascot's The Stables Craft Bar & Kitchen. Their care for detail is evident across the board.
Hello Please exterior.
House-made sodas, bottles of 333 and cans of Bia Hanoi feature in tight drinks list, together with a couple of sparkling options - Cava Mas and Champagne Choisel, plus a handful of mostly Australian white and red offerings. The remaining choices on your placemat menu are equally succinct. You'll need to arrive at lunchtime for banh mi; together with a bowl of pho it's a combo worth leaving the office for. Rice noodles, bean sprouts, Vietnamese mint, coriander and slices of poached chicken float in the golden, aromatic chicken broth. Chicken appears again in the banh mi, with a robust chicken pâté, pickled cucumber, grated carrot and coriander.
As the overhead festoon lighting sparks up, the focus switches to bar snacks - steamed bao and dumplings, salads, spring rolls and crisp chicken ribs. Hello? Please.
Hello Please, Fish La, South Brisbane, Qld, helloplease.co; open Tues-Sun, midday − late.