Tag Archives: thai

Ayatana

97 Chapel St, Windsor

Thai

http://www.ayatana.com.au/

I had visited the Thai restaurant that used to reside at this site a number of times but for some reason I hadn’t got around to going to Ayatana until now although I’d heard good things.  After it opened it seemed to be very quiet for quite a few weeks – before obviously word of mouth got around and now it is often full.  As soon as you walk in you can tell Ayatana is a more refined experience than its predecessor.  The décor is simple but classic, and the lighting is muted.  A good date destination I imagine.

The restaurant is small but you know what they say about good things.  The tables soon fill up but it doesn’t feel overly crowded.  The service is prompt and polite.  The menu is full of so many items that sound delicious none of us come to a quick decision over what to order.  In the end we selected the pan seared Japanese scallops, the minced pork and prawn rice paper rolls, and the five spiced duck breast steamed buns.

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All of the entrees are delicious and presently beautifully.  A lot of care and attention has gone into the food and it’s obvious.  For mains, we ordered the hot, sweet and sour crispy barramundi fillets, the slow cooked massaman curry, and the roasted macadamia and cashew nuts stir fried with chicken breast fillets.  I had the barramundi and it was fantastic.  Just the right amount of kick, and the sweet and sour were balanced perfectly.  The barramundi was also nice and crispy.  By all accounts the other two mains were very well received as well.  I was impressed with the presentation of the stirfry in particular as too often that can just be a pile on a plate with no care in the presentation.  It also had a nice bite without being overpowering.

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There were so many things that I missed out on trying I’ll definitely head back here soon to try more of it.  I can hear the pork belly calling me.  When the worst bit of the meal is when your scallop falls off its perch of sliced Granny Smith apple, you know you have very little to complain about.  Ayatana isn’t into trendy, it’s just into good food.

Note: There is also a take away menu available.

Ayatana on Urbanspoon

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Colonel Tan’s

229 Chapel Street, Prahran, 3181

Thai

www.revolverupstairs.com.au/colonel-tans/

Revolver, Revs, Revolting… whatever you call it, Revolver Upstairs is as Melbourne as dim sims and hook turns.  I’ve lost more hours than I can count, or certainly remember, in its dark and sticky environs dancing away to Boogs and Spacey Space on a Sunday morning, surrounded by people for who sleep is but a distant memory and the only meal they’ve eaten in the last two days is the inside of their mouth.  It’s certainly not an image that conjures up the thought – yeah, that’s were I’d like to pop into for some delicious Thai food sometime, but if you don’t, you’re missing out.

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Colonel Tan’s was created by Karen Batson of Cookie and The Toff in Town.  It’s named after Revolver co-owner and Thai pop star Tan Punturaumporn, with the Colonel ranking being a reference to the five spice chicken specialty and it’s Southern American cousin.

The stairs leading up to Colonel Tan’s are a decent workout, and I’ve seen plenty of people struggle to navigate them, but that’s mainly on the way down after 15 hours dancing inside.  The inside of the venue is lowly lit with a myriad of aging lampshades and chandeliers, and is littered with 80’s video game machines and old couches with an appetite for mobile phones and wallets.   The kitsch floral vinyl tablecloth clad tables are set out at the far end of the room near the utilitarian bar.  The walls (and ceiling) are an absolute joy at Revolver Upstairs.  They are full of artworks from brilliant artists and are always evolving.  Banksy and Shepard Fairey feature prominently among them, with works from prior to their global fame.  The more attention you pay the more fascinating art work you will find.

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The food menu is quite extensive, but if you don’t like spicy food then you may be restricted a little.  The drinks menu is also very extensive and it’s nice to be able to order these from your table rather than fight your way to the front of the bar with sweaty patrons queued five deep as is the case on a weekend.  Fruit infused water is also provided.  We ordered a couple of baskets of the requisite Colonel’s five spice chicken, and betel leaf salad with snapper, peanuts, ginger, chilli and lime to start with.  The chicken kicks arse.  Or it would do if it’s legs weren’t amputated and deep-fried in a beautifully spiced and crispy coating.  It’s a definite winner when compared to that of the more famous Colonel.  Make sure you get at least one basket of this when you visit.  The betel leaf salad is a DIY dish where you wrap the snapper filling into a betel leaf.  It’s a cracking dish but be warned, it has some serious chilli kick.  You’ll be heading for a serviette or two after knocking back these two finger food dishes, the salad can be particularly sticky.

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For mains we ordered Penang lamb curry, stir fried tumeric chicken, Pad Thai eggnet and stir fried red curry pork to share between the five of us.  The lamb and the pork were particularly good, with nice juicy pork belly chunks in the red curry and plenty of chilli kick in the lamb.  We were all close to letting out the belt a notch at the end of it, and the best bit, since Thursday is locals night, it’s half price for anybody with a 3181 post code or a Revolver membership.  Eight dishes of food ended up costing us less than $15 each.

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There are two dinner sittings per evening, one at 6pm and one at 8pm, and it’s closed on Sundays and Mondays.  If you turn up on a Sunday you’re in for a whole different sort of evening.  Bookings are recommended for Thursdays.

Do yourself a favour – forget about the boozy nights and days where you ended up in Revolver and promised yourself you’d never return… and return.  Return for the food.

Colonel Tan's on Urbanspoon

 

Note: Most of the photos are not mine – it’s so dark in there the iPhone doesn’t really cut the mustard.

Ghin Kopi

58 Chapel St, Windsor

Thai

http://www.ghinkopionline.com.au/

Ghin Kopi has been around a couple of years now judging from the size of the stack of takeaway containers my flatmate has accumulated from there.  I’d been a couple of times before but, to be honest, the last time was after a pretty epic bender and I’m not sure I was fully able to appreciate what was served up to me.  This time, a lot more sober, I had another go.

A friend and I sat at one of the small outdoor tables since it was a warm evening.  A waitress brought out menus and water promptly.  Now the odd thing about the water glasses at Ghin Kopi is that they have a rounded base.  They webble and they wooble but they don’t fall down.  This was enough to scare my dinner companion enough that she asked the waitress to remove the glass from her sight.  It really is an odd choice for tumblers and seems to be courting disaster, especially as they hadn’t taken down their Christmas decorations and it was after Jan 5th!  My friend ordered two entrees, the Thai fish cakes and the prawn spring rolls, and I ordered the garlic pepper chicken as a main, and a couple of beers of course.

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We’d asked for the entrees and mains to be brought out at the same time however the entrees arrived out first and I had a sample of them.  The fish cakes tasted like they were home brand supermarket fish cakes.  The fish cake mixture was highly processed and lacked any identifiable chucks of fish.  They also bent rather than broke when you tried to break one down the middle.  I definitely wouldn’t recommend them.  The prawn spring rolls were okay, although the one I tried seemed to have very little prawn in it, the others looked okay so it could have been the odd one out.

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When my chicken dish arrived we had to do some plate shuffling and stacking.  The small round tables really aren’t big enough for two people to eat a full meal at.  It’d be better if the tables were at least square to give you a bit more real estate to work with.  Once I had my meal in front of me it look and smelled great.  Lots of juicy looking chicken chucks along with the usual stir-fry accompaniments.  It also tasted delicious and it was a good portion size.  The only hindrance to enjoying this was some child running up and down the street from the pizza joint a couple of doors down, screaming like he was having his eye ball removed with a chopstick, although it appears they were screams of joy from being chased up the street  by a lumbering adult.

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On the front window, under the Ghin Kopi name is the text “Thonburi Culinary School”.  I asked the waitress if a cooking school was being run from the restaurant or that is where the chefs trained at.  She responded that it was where the chefs trained at in Thailand, however a quick Google search later showed that they were indeed running a cooking school there, seemingly sold through group buying websites.

It seems the food here is a bit hit and miss and my have deteriorated a little from when it first opened.  Newly opened next door is the exciting My Little Gogo so Ghin Kopi will have to stay on top of their game to compete.

Ghin Kopi on Urbanspoon

New Wind

120 Chapel St, Windsor

Vietnamese/Thai

http://www.newwind.com.au/

New Wind has been around since 2001 and I’ve eaten here a couple of times before.  I visited it again on New Years Eve with a group of friends, looking to line our stomachs before the subsequent festivities.   Inside is decorated with original paintings by the owner and a piano in the corner, sometimes played by the owner as well.  On this night we sat outside at the wooden tables which look like they were made by your dad who failed shop class and they could certainly have benefited from some sandpaper.

We ordered roast quail, pendan chicken and the charcoal grilled octopus for entrées.  The pendan chicken consisted of marinated chicken pieces wrapped in a pendan leaf and then grilled and served with a plum sauce.  It was quite tasty although the four pieces of fish were quite inconsistently sized which is a bit annoying when sharing.   The char-grilled baby octopus was marinated in a spicy Thai sauce served with a sweet chilli sauce and was also a tasty if slightly unattractive dish.  The roast quail sprinkled with spices was delicious.

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For mains we ordered the coconut prawn clay pot and a pork stir fry with a plum sauce.  When they arrived the waiter struggled to find space on the table for them due to the number of glasses and bottles that had accumulated however he didn’t seem particularly interested in removing any.  Once every dish, plate, bottle and glass was jockeyed slightly to accommodate the mains they turned out to be pretty good.  Nothing exceptional but they hit the spot, were a decent portion size, and were reasonably priced.

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If you’re looking for well priced reasonable Vietnamese/Thai food then you could do worse than choosing New Wind, but it’s certainly not the best on Chapel St, and I’d probably avoid trying to use the bathrooms there as well.

Footnote:  I have since returned here reasonably late on a Saturday night with three friends.  We ordered the prawn dumplings, fried wontons and steamed chicken dim sims.  All were terrible.  The wontons were flat and lacked filling, the chicken dim sim wrappings looked like sheep scrotum and were falling apart.  The prawn dumplings were stodgy and all the ones I had an inedible hard glutenous bit in them.  I certainly do not recommend these entrées.  Additionally there is a smell of gas outside the restaurant which could well worry any Jewish clientelle more than the pork stir-fry.  Apparently the council have been around to check it a few times but found nothing.  Still, it can make sitting outside quite unpleasant.

New Wind on Urbanspoon