CAMBODIA has never been high on my holiday wish list, but after a lovely dinner at Tamarind in Mt Hawthorn I’ve been checking the price of airfares to Phnom Penh.
The Cambodian cuisine at Tamarind is reminiscent of food from Vietnam and Thailand – think creamy curries and sour soups – but every dish has its own native twist.
D’Angerous Dave and I kicked off our meal by having the roti bread with peanut sauce ($7.90).
The bread was soft with just the right amount of oiliness, and the sauce had a pleasant sharpness compared to the creamier Indonesian version we’re used to.
The entree went well with our spicy larb salad ($16.90), which had broccoli, carrot, red onion and snow peas in a lemongrass and coriander dressing.
“It’s like a tom yum sauce, with a refreshing chilli punch,” Dave said.
Vegetarians will be pleased to know that the chef was only too happy to substitute tofu for chicken in the salad.
When we asked the very helpful waiter for a traditional Cambodian dish, she suggested the fish ginger ($25.90).
The house-made ginger sauce was magnificent, packing plenty of heat and boasting flavours that swung from sweet to sharp.
The battered fish was crisp to the last and the flesh dense and wonderfully moist.
On the waiter’s recommendation we ordered the basil veggies ($17.90).
The smell of fresh basil arrived before the dish hit the table and we were “in like Flynn”, scooping up the wonderfully oily stir-fired vegetables in a chilli and garlic sauce.
The vegetarian fried rice ($17.90) was tasty enough to be a stand-alone dish, but when we added the fish and the basil-infused vegetables it was heaven on a plate.
I was ready to call it quits, but Dave had already spotted the banana sago pudding ($11.90).
“It’s not like English stodge; it’s creamy and the banana really comes through,” he said.
D’Angerous, a British ex-pat, wolfed down the dessert and perhaps it was his way of coping with the poms suffering more heartbreak at the World Cup.
Tamarind isn’t licenced, but there’s a very good bottle shop across the road.
by JENNY D’ANGER
148 Scarborough Beach
Road, Mt Hawthorn
open 7 days dinner, & lunch Friday