Address:70 Charlotte Street, Brisbane
This restuarant is the epitome of "don't judge a book by its cover". Whilst the exterior is far from impressing, the food is well made and of reasonable price (all below A$10!).
AJ's tends to be very popular around meal time. I was there at 12.15 lunch hour, there was a short queue forming outside the door already. However, the turnaround is quite fast as you don't actually have to wait long for your food. The girls are also super friendly and kept me updated on my position in the queue and were patient with me constantly changing my mind about what to order.
At any Vietnamese restaurant, I normally beeline for the special beef noodle soup, however, the spring roll vermicelli salad looked so enticing, I was very tempted. Nevertheless, given the chilli weather today, I must say, the decision for noodle soup was well made. The noodles came out within 5 minutes of ordering and all the ingredients were fresh and the soup very tasty.
If I have to pick any fault with it, it would have to be the addition of MSG in the soup and chilli & hoisin sauce.
I don't have anything against MSG, I mean, kind of grew up on that stuff. However, it does make you thirsty afterwards. As for the sauces, it is a habit of mine to have pho with the chilli & hoisin sauce mixture so the meat will have more flavour. Whilst the chilli sauce was fantastic, the hoisin sauce was watered down.
Nevertheless, on a cold winter day, it is definitely satisfying.
Recommended: Special beef noodle soup, springrolls
Directions: Charlotte is the fifth street parallel to the Central Station exit. So, once you exit station, just go straight down. Once you hit Charlotte, turn right and keep walking. The restaurant is located in close proximity to Rio Tinto.