S & T THAI, Northbridge
by STEPHEN POLLOCK:
With the wives missing in action, “Banner” and I rekindled our bromance with dinner at the Thai Gourmet Cafe.
Nestled in the sweaty bosom of Chinatown, this modest restaurant is small and unassuming—like Bert Newton on a sun lounger.
Thai Gourmet has received some rave reviews in cyberspace, so I was looking forward to some exotic food and man-talk about carburettors and mud-wrestling.
The menu was a litany of familiar classics (panang curry, tom yum soup, red curry) and a few off-spinners (spicy BBQ pig’s liver salad, stewed pork leg).
I was impressed that virtually all the mains were under $20—a rarity in this far-flung boom town.
In a quirky touch, each table had a “futuristic” gadget—a prism with three buttons (water, bill, order)—which alerted a buzzer on the waitress’s wrist.
It seemed a tad misogynist—like Princess Leia chained to Jabba the Hutt.
We kicked off with thai fish cakes ($12.50) and sai grog esarn ($12.50).
Banner was caught off-guard by the amorphous fish dumplings, expecting traditional hockey puck rubber.
“They were rich and fragrant with the taste of fresh lemongrass, although perhaps a touch too salty,” he mused.
“Another interesting addition was the inclusion of fried basil leaves as a garnish.
“These bite-sized cakes packed a hot and spicy punch but were served with a sweet and mild chilli-based dipping sauce which contained chopped peanuts and fresh coriander.”
The sai grog esarn (grilled Thai pork sausages) were the culinary equivalent of crack cocaine—highly addictive and probably not good for you in large doses.
The dissected sausage, infused with spices, had crispy skin and an unexpected sweet refrain.
It was complemented with cabbage leaves, garlic, lemon and whole chillies.
The coarse pork reminded me of eating a rich pan-fried chorizo, and was a meal highlight.
As the restaurant filled-up with patrons—creating a pleasant din—Banner started quoting from Heart of Darkness as he mauled his chicken jungle curry ($14.90).
“If you’re looking for a chilli rush that takes you temporarily into another dimension this is the one to go for,” he said.
“The broth-based sauce had a deep and complex heat imbued with fragrant herbs, and garnished with sliced chillies and baby corn.”
My gang ped yang ($19.50) was pretty marvellous too: roasted duck, tomato, pineapple and capsicum in a moreish red curry sauce.
The addition of lime leaves added a nice citrus burst.
Thai Gourmet is a corker—cheap prices, delicious food and prompt, smiley service.
Even “Mizta Kurtz” would like it—the sausage! the sausage!
by STEPHEN POLLOCK
S & T Thai Gourmet Cafe
349 William Street, Northbridge