Tag Archives: Thai

Asian Cheap Eats

Let’s admit it, there will always be a time when you crave cheap Asian food. I recently got to meet Kenny from the popular Western suburbs’ blog, Consider the Sauce, and we discussed how many people review the same popular places in the CBD etc, whilst he tends to go for the ‘ghetto’ places.

He makes a good point, and I enjoy weaving in and out of both worlds, or simply anywhere. My love of roadtrips leads me all over Melbourne and I love being able to have readers say, “That’s just near me, I’ll drop by and give it a try” whether it’s in the western or south-eastern suburbs (neither of which are my areas)!

So, here’s a few cheap Asian finds that I’ve stopped by in the various suburbs of Melbourne in the past few weeks. Enjoy!

Basil House: 461 High St, Preston
A mix of Vietnamese and Thai food, Basil House likes to provide a bit of variety. Due to the offering of both cuisines though, I feel like they lose a bit of authenticity in both areas.20140610_191050

But it satisfies the tummy and the craving, so most of the time it will do. The table settings are like any other Asian restaurant with cutlery and condiments on the table ready to go.

Decor is nothing special but at least this place isn’t cramped like some fast restaurants. It’s a little less hectic and more relaxed, but your food still comes out quickly.

20140610_191959High St is the busy, fast-ethnic-food-place-to-be in Preston. With a few other Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants on the little strip, you might pass by Basil House due to its split between two cuisines, which usually indicates it is catering too much to Western crowds by serving Asian dishes in general.
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We ordered some Vietnamese entrees including nem nuong (grilled pork, top picture) and bo la lot (beef wrapped in betel leaf, above) to start. The serves are suitable for sharing but I found the meat in both dishes a little dry.

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I think when you go to a cheap Asian restaurant, it’s all about ordering that one, complete, cheap meal and leaving satisfied. Com tam or broken rice (above) is a popular Vietnamese meal with grilled pork, shredded pork skin, egg and a sort of meatloaf with egg. It’s not pretty, but it is a staple meal at Vietnamese restaurants.

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We also ordered a large tom yum soup, although a little oily, it was surprisingly not bad. It was pretty warming and spicy for a winter night’s meal.

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My friend ordered one of the stir-fried chicken dishes, but I’m not sure which one. The chicken had a nice, light sauce whilst the vegies were cut in large chunks like most Asian restaurants.

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I chose the pad thai, which was better than my expectations and quite filling. I think they went a little overboard with the peanuts and towards the end, the flavour does feel a bit repetitive and bland, but I still managed to down it all.

Basil House is open everyday 10.30am-10.30pm. You can find an old version of their menu here as their website seems to be expired.

Basil House on Urbanspoon

Tra Vinh: 70 Nicholson St, Footscray
There are plenty of places to eat in the west, so a lot of people tend to overlook Tra Vinh. This visit actually made us realise that they don’t even have pho on the menu.

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But that’s not what this place is good for! To start off we ordered some classic Vietnamese drinks, a Vietnamese iced coffee and an avocado smoothie ($3 each). My iced coffee was a little small, but considering how strong Vietnamese coffees are, it was probably for the better at night time!

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What my friend loves this place for is their hu tieu mi kho dac biet, special dry Vietnamese pork noodles (apologies for blurry photo above). The noodles and various fillings are hiding underneath those beanshoots, which you can mix altogether with the sweet chilli sauce throughout to help flavour the dry noodles. It was so addictive, my friend ordered another bowl – and why not when it’s only $9.50.

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Hu tieu can also come in a soup base, so I went with the same dish but in a soup version. It has both clear noodles and egg noodles. The broth was welcoming, tasting like a great homemade soup. They have plenty of other dishes too, but they seem to mostly be known for their hu tieu dishes.

Tra Vinh is open daily 9am-8pm. Check out their menu on Urbanspoon.

Tra Vinh on Urbanspoon

Hoa Tran: 246A Springvale Rd, Springvale
This place is always busy and boasts a large menu. Another bustling Vietnamese suburban area, Springvale is home to many restaurants and shops to embrace your inner Asian. It has everything from bubble tea to pho, so whilst you’re there, don’t forget to check out Hoa Tran. Click the picture below for full article.

Hoa Tran is open daily from 9am-9pm. Check out their menu here.

Hoa Tran on Urbanspoon

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Jinda Thai Restaurant

After seeing photo after photo on my Instagram feed, it finally sunk in that this Thai restaurant is on my train line, thus I found an excuse to drop by for dinner with friends.

Although it was only mid-week and around 6.30pm, this place was packed, and I was surprised to see a long receipt-like list of bookings for the night. It’s lucky I booked, as we had five people and the place was close to full. 20140507_182828The place itself isn’t anything too fancy, although my friend said the restrooms are surprisingly quaint (pictured below). In addition to this, the benches along the wall at our table had a few cushions. Located off Victoria St, no one really expects anything that fancy, but it is a little more spacious and nicer than crowded Vietnamese restaurants. IMG-20140507-WA0002We were seated quickly however not provided any menus. We felt a little confused, as there were big menu boards on the other side of the restaurant and we weren’t sure if that’s what we had to order from. But spotting the table next to us with their own menus, it was evident we hadn’t been given any.

A little more confusing is that when they provided them, there are two menus, a booklet and another a single page, which appeared to have noodle dishes, recommendations and more. Still, the exact difference between them wasn’t explained to us, so we had to examine both of them thoroughly.

20140507_184958Luckily, as mentioned in my previous blog post, I’d received recommendations from other food bloggers so it made it a little easier to order. I almost always order a Thai iced milk tea, which helps my low spicy tolerance. It came in a cute trendy jar, but I felt like it was a tad smaller compared to what I’ve had in the past. 20140507_185739A popular recommendation was the boat noodles ($6 small, $9 large), so my friend, who unfortunately just got braces, went with this.

A large basket of condiments came at the same time as the boat noodles, and at first we thought it was all for her, then realised it was most likely for us all to share. Once again, there was not much explanation and they also forgot about our cutlery until we asked. 20140507_185759 The boat noodle soup itself was tasty – you can choose if you want a pork or beef soup and what type of noodles you would like. The soup’s colour is murky as it contains pig’s blood (a normal ingredient for Asian dishes – doesn’t taste as bad as it sounds!) But there is more flavour to the soup than pig’s blood, which was quite pleasant when I had a spoonful.

The downside are the sizes. We found the noodle sizes (the below one too) very disappointing and honestly wondered how that would constitute as a meal if we didn’t share some of the dishes. 20140507_190022 My friend ordered the above spicy dry egg noodle (above), which looked like barely anything. I guess the price for a small is cheap ($6), but there was no guidance from the waitresses that it would be this small. For either an individual or sharing dish, I find this a strange size.

This dish lived up to its name in spiciness, but it included offal even though my friend indicated she did not want it when the waitress asked.

20140507_190056 Surprisingly, the pineapple fried rice was addictive. The fragrance of pineapple provided excitement to your normal fried rice dish, and we scraped it to the last drop.20140507_190042The red duck curry ($15.90, top left) was another recommendation whilst I also couldn’t help choosing the Massaman beef curry ($14.90). The duck curry was more of a watery curry and quite spicy, so much that the weaker ones out of us couldn’t taste anything at first. However, after a few spoonfuls of most of the spicy dishes, we grew accustomed to it and started to enjoy the flavours. 20140507_190240 We had all chosen a dish (plus a few extras) and I was fairly happy with my Massaman curry. This wasn’t spicy at all, but had a slightly thicker and buttery texture. 20140507_190617 It’s also hard to not order tom yum soup ($15.90) when you’re at a Thai restaurant. This was similarly spicy, but addictive too after a few sips. We ordered a seafood soup and I was surprised they weren’t too stingy on the seafood, with a good amount of vegetables and prawns.

Another suggestion was an appetiser, marinated chicken wrapped in pandan leaf ($6.90 per 2 pieces, bottom right). Upon unwrapping, the chicken was fried, crispy and juicy. I really enjoyed it, yet one friend wasn’t amazed.

20140507_190635As the servings were fairly small, it was lucky we also ordered the Thai style marinated grilled beef ($15.90). It was cooked medium rare as requested and nice and tender.

More communication from the waitresses would have been helpful again, as we didn’t realise the cylinder in the background contained sticky rice. It’s in the menu description but we completely forgot about it. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) one of us discovered it at the end when we had all finished eating! 20140507_190916 I was worried we had ordered too much, but in the end it was just enough…to leave room to order a Thai milk tea crepe cake between us! This is another popular item I hear of often. Served with coconut sorbet, my friends all loved it, and it really is like eating your drink in a crepe cake form! However, they apparently sell the packets to make this in a grocery next door. 20140507_201814 Overall, the service let me down a lot. Cutlery was dropped and a little sauce was also spilt on my friend’s skirt. Because of this, I can’t see myself rushing to come back. Everything did feel authentic, but the service and serving sizes may deter me for some time.

I know a lot of other people have experienced better than me, so maybe give it a go at least once for the food and a different type of restaurant around the Victoria St/Richmond area but don’t expect top notch service.

Jinda Thai Restaurant is located at 1-7 Ferguson St, Abbotsford, just across the road from North Richmond Station. It is open Mon-Sun 11am-11pm. Find the menu on Urbanspoon here.

Jinda Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Caroline Thai Restaurant

A day in the western suburbs, resulted in us looking for a quick but quality place to eat before we had to catch a movie. My friend suggested Caroline Thai Restaurant, a moderately priced restaurant with delicious food and cutlery with elephants shaped on the ends.

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As it was a day featuring the last tastes of summer weather, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to order a classic Thai iced milk tea ($3.90, above.) It tasted sweet and authentic but not overly sweetened like some places. With four of us we all chose a dish each.

Under the Thai grilled section I chose the Moo Yang BBQ, which was grilled marinated pork with Thai herbs ($16.90, above). It tasted lightly barbecued but the sauce added the burst of flavour needed, and the flower added a nice touch to the presentation.

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We debated over whether to get a large or small serving of tom yum soup. The waiter was quite helpful, so in the end we chose to have two small serves of the soup. I think we got the vegetable tom yum so it was $6.90 for each, but when they came out we were quite happy with the decision because it seemed like just enough. This was probably my favourite dish of the night, as it wasn’t too spicy and seemed to have a depth to its flavour that made you keep coming back for more.

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In contrast, my friend insisted that the curry wasn’t that spicy last time so we asked for a bit of extra spice for our red curry with chicken ($16.90, above). However, when it came out he said it was a lot spicier this time – but for my weaker friends and I it wasn’t unbearable. It was definitely a bit on the strong side but if you had a lot of it, all it took was a sip of water.

What I like about the menu, is that for the appropriate dishes, it provides you with the different options of meat and fillings. For example, you can have red curry with beef, chicken, vegetables, prawns or seafood. It’s very straightforward and means they are quite flexible.

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Last of all was the seafood pad thai ($16.90, above). The noodles seemed quite thin, but this seems consistent with what people agree should be used in pad thai. It was good and what was to be expected, nothing too special.

With four meals all up, and not a lot of time, we didn’t manage to finish it all but I felt like we had a good selection. If we had more time, I would have probably demolished the tom yum soup! The place seemed to be starting to get busy early in the evening, and the food seemed fairly authentic. The waiters and waitresses also seemed attentive and helpful, able to help with any advice.

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Caroline Thai Restaurant is located at Shop 9/218-222 Caroline Springs Blvd, Caroline Springs. You can view the dine-in menu here. You will also find their drinks and take-away menu.

Caroline Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Modern Asian Restaurants: Rice Paper Scissors

I walked past this place on my visit to Longrain, a new and upcoming place it was immediately put on my list of places to go. It was always going to be a risk though, with a modern take on various Asian and a lot of Vietnamese dishes, it would definitely challenge my notion of traditional Vietnamese food.

However, I’m very open to modern Asian restaurants as long as they provide dishes that taste good! It looked busy inside when we arrived around 6.30pm on a weeknight, so we chose to sit outside in true Asian hawker style with a wooden crate table. Service started off well and we chose to have the tempting offer of five dishes from the menu for $45 all up. 20140226_185001 The first dish that came out included two mini versions of banh xeoa take on the traditional Vietnamese pancake ($9, above). The English name said coconut crispy wafers filled with pork, prawn, bean shoots and fresh herbs, thus it was definitely crispier than the usual folded, large pancake.

The waiter recommended we eat it wrapped in the lettuce, which is a hard feat when the wafer is hard, but I managed by folding it up similar to a taco. This results in a messy, saucy meal but the crunch of lettuce and wafer, and the filling, provided a tasty mix of familiar Asian flavours yet something new. My friend wasn’t entirely happy when she decided not to use the lettuce and the waiter told her she should eat it with it, as it would be hard to eat otherwise. A recommendation is welcome, but being told you are eating the food wrong feels slightly rude. 20140226_185449 We didn’t take it too personally and moved on to our galloping horses, a Thai dish called ma hor, involving caramelised pork, prawn and peanut on sour pineapple ($9, above). From reviews, it seems like this is a favourite of many. I don’t usually like pineapple, but the taste of sour pineapple was easy to eat. The mix of filling on top sounds good on paper, but didn’t quite do it for us. The mix tasted a bit weird and salty and you don’t quite recognise what you are eating, but I guess it works for a lot of other people.

We also ordered a non-alcoholic drink, a crush of cranberry, lime and coriander ($6.50, above). Refreshing as it was, it had a bit of an odd aftertaste but it was not too bad and helped to cool down if you had too much chilli. I hear their cocktails are pretty good though so you can check out their drinks menu here. 20140226_194359 From this point, the small restaurant became full and I heard visitors being told it would be a 45 minute wait. Impressive for a new place, but at the same time our meal encountered an extremely long break.

After some prompts and apologies, our next dish of prawn crackers, using the Indonesian style and name, krupuk udang ($8, above) arrived. It came with king prawn, spicy sausage, soy caviar and sriracha mayo atop the large crackers. I discovered how tasty Indonesian prawn crackers are last year, as they’re larger, crunchier and more flavoursome but the presentation of scattered ingredients felt a bit random. It did taste quite good with the hints of chilli mayo, but it’s nothing amazing, especially after you’ve been waiting so long for it.

20140226_195445 Finally we had the mini Vietnamese baguettes, or banh mi ($9, above). It comes with free range bbq pork, pickled vegetables, herbs and homemade pate. I was dubious as they merely looked like mini hamburgers, but this was forgotten after I took a bite – the soft bread and pate burst with unique, inviting flavours.

For our fifth meal, they mistakenly brought out the coconut wafers again and not our betel leaves with duck. The wait was so long after that, we decided to leave and pay for four dishes. The waiter slightly apologised and rounded off our bill, however thought it was partially our fault for not correcting him when he had tried to check what we were waiting on. He had spoken quickly and we nodded because we assumed he was just asking if we were still waiting for dishes – and I’m not sure it’s our fault that they did not tick off the correct dishes.

Some of the food was impressive but weighed up against the long wait and service, I won’t be in a rush to come back. I didn’t leave full and don’t think I would have been, even after a fifth dish. But feel free to give it a try for some small bites and drinks, the food impresses many and you might experience better service than me!

Rice Paper Scissors is open Mon-Fri 12-3pm for lunch and 6pm-late for dinner. They are open 5pm-late on Saturdays and closed on Sundays. View their menu here.

Rice Paper Scissors on Urbanspoon

Modern Asian Restaurants: Longrain

Well it seems this series will never end, the most popular restaurants in Melbourne just seem to exhibit this modern cuisine. Most restaurants take the best parts of Thai food and put their own twist on it, thus it seems that Thai food has become the easiest to modernise and market. Longrain’s website indicates it takes influences from Thai food and also Southern Chinese food.

I’ll make a brief mention of trying it at the Night Noodle Markets, as I won’t be doing a full post on that event. To be honest, I was not impressed by the markets. Their portions weren’t great and they were overpriced even for what they would serve in the actual restaurants.

Hot and sour pork salad

I tried their hot and sour pork with glass noodle salad and it was roughly $12/$13. Although it’s a salad, I didn’t expect it to be so, so cold. Their pork was more like tiny bits of minced pork hidden in the pile of noodles, almost like finding a needle in a haystack. And I could hardly taste any hint of hot and sour…After lining up for so long I felt like we’d make the wrong decision and wondered if their other dishes were better. Thus I wasn’t put off by the whole outfit, merely the night market idea, and was not afraid to drop by their actual restaurant for dinner.

The restaurant is located further down Little Bourke St, an area that I realised I have not explored, with Christmas signs and tiny Asian restaurants on a little laneway leading me towards Longrain.

A tad late, my friend had already ordered an appetiser (below) so it would come out soon. I’m not sure what it was called but it came with prawn crackers, lettuce and a bowl of salad-type dish with mint, chilli, prawns and more. It had that zing that comes from the strong aromas of chilli and mint and went well when scooped into the crackers. However, they only give you three crackers and lots of filling. You can also use the lettuce but it still didn’t seem enough, and we found it too strong and saucy to finish on its own.

Our appetiser

At this time we were sitting in the waiting area near the bar and not properly seated yet. Despite us telling them that our last friend was about to arrive, they said they couldn’t seat us until she got there. We found this a bit silly but a common trend in the upper restaurants in Melbourne these days, as well as the no bookings for less than 6 people policy.

Finally, we were seated and served by a young waiter who sped through all we needed to know and the specials. Don’t get me wrong, he was very nice and attentive.

Like many restaurants, the dishes are intended for sharing. The menu doesn’t state it, but they can do smaller portions for some of their dishes. The first dish that came out was the char grilled ocean trout with lemongrass and kaffir lime leaf (below, $19.50). We were quite hungry, thus when we saw this small portion (this is the normal sized portion), we were quite worried about what the rest of the dishes would bring.

Char grilled ocean trout

We almost forgot about this when we tasted the trout, so soft and covered in Thai-inspired flavours. Despite this refreshing taste, I’m starting to find it difficult to differentiate the flavours from all these modern Asian restaurants as there is a high usage of lemongrass, mint and lime.

Fortunately the char grilled chicken, tumeric, lemongrass, chilli, lime (below) did not look as small. It was similarly flavoured to the previous dish, however I could taste a subtle, smoky BBQ flavour and the sauce added some spice. In fact a tad too much spice for one friend, and our waiter was nice enough to bring some cucumbers out for us to cool our palettes down.

Char grilled chicken

It’s hard to go by these restaurants without trying their respective caramelised pork dishes, thus we tried their caramelised pork hock, five spice, chilli vinegar (below, $33.50). Our verdict remains as it was, that nothing will beat Red Spice Roads pork belly, but this dish still gained a favourite for the night. The caramelised flavour was just strong enough and the pork was perfectly cooked, but there wasn’t really much spice (not complaining).

Caramelised pork hock

Lastly, we ordered a small portion of Mussaman curry (spelt that way) grass-fed beef, kipfler potato and roasted peanuts as one of my friends didn’t want curry. This was quite different from the Massaman curries that I’ve tried, looking a lot redder, thus my friend who prefers Chin Chin did not like it at all. On the other hand, I found it reminded me of some Indian curries, and enjoyed the taste. But besides the beef, I didn’t enjoy the other ingredients in the dish as much.

Mussaman beef curry

Although out waiter was quite nice, we weren’t too impressed by not being able to be seated without our last friend present. The service was initially slow, with the trout coming out by itself and the following dishes taking their time. We pushed them by asking for the remaining dishes to come out together, which happened but after some time.

If I were to compare to the other restaurants in this series, we found it quite similar to Red Spice Road but not as good. Red Spice Road is just as, or not even as, expensive in some areas. They take bookings, they seem to provide more generous servings and I’ve also always been impressed by their swift and faultless service. An upside at Longrain was that they do have the option of brown rice, which we ordered (at $4 per person).

Longrain only takes bookings for lunch and only for groups of 6+ for dinner.
Lunch: Friday 12pm – 3pm, but also Mon-Fri between Dec 2 and Dec 23
Dinner: Mon – Thurs 6pm – late and Friday, Saturday, Sunday 5.30pm – late

They are located 44 Little Bourke St. Visit their website here.

Longrain Melbourne on Urbanspoon

Stay tuned for yet another modern Asian blog soon! Any guesses where it might be?

Modern Asian Restaurants: Cookie

Upstairs on Swanston St, Cookie has been on my list for a while as it’s never been too far away. I was almost turned off from going there merely from a rude waiter on the phone, who snapped that he’s full on Friday night and doesn’t have any room.

However on the Friday, it seemed some online booking spots became free so I snapped one up and crossed my fingers that our service wouldn’t be as rude. Luckily, we were served by a lovely young lady and seated after a few minutes, as it was a bustling Friday night. Due to this though, the bar and restaurant was packed and the atmosphere was very much…LOUD.

It’s very dark but the dining tables are lit up with a single candle, providing romantic and dim lighting. The menu is a reasonable size, but I feel their drinks list is even longer. One of the first dishes we ordered was the sour pork belly salad with ginger, peanuts & curried rice balls ($21.50, bottom left).

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I think the pork was inside the rice balls, not separate (correct me if wrong). Either way, the idea is to break up the rice balls and mix everything together in order to enjoy the salad (end result below). The texture is similar to minced meat, it was different and had light flavours, the curry not really that strong, but this seemed suitable for a salad.

Next up we had the steamed mussels with lemongrass, kaffir lime, ginger, coriander & chilli ($19.50 for half a kilo, bottom right). I think this was our favourite dish, all the seasoning and extra condiments ensured that the mussels kept us coming back for more. The extensive list of ingredients make it sound like it will be extremely rich and exotic, however I think they use small amounts of everything, allowing subtle flavours rather than the bold use of coriander, lime and chilli at Chin Chin.

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On a side note, after perusing a long and overwhelming drinks list, I went for a lychee lemongrass martini ($19, above, right) as I always enjoy the taste of lychee juice. It pretty much tasted like a classic martini infused with lychee, with some lychees in there too. You can browse through their cocktail list here, and see that you can even choose your own flavours for a frozen daiquiri.

Lastly, we ordered the pork spare ribs marinated with roasted chilli & soy ($23.50, below). They were chilli but not overbearingly so. The sauce merely tasted like your regular Asian chilli sauce, and I don’t feel like it went well with the ribs so I ate the ribs on its own. They were quite crispy and a good degree of salty, merely messy to eat in such a fancy atmosphere! And the serving was humungous, granted we did order the mussels and the ribs from the “Large Dishes” menu.

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As usual, the waitress was amazed at how much we ordered and even more amazed when she returned at the end and not a speck was left. I enjoyed the service quite a lot, as the dining area isn’t that large, it feels more intimate and like you are receiving more attention. Even though it was a Friday night, they were quite prompt and helpful at recommending dishes and the best way to enjoy them. However, a small note, they did recommend roti to enjoy with our dishes, although I don’t really feel it fit anywhere. It was a bit plain/soggy, so I would go with rice next time.

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The dessert dishes didn’t really appeal to me and I thought we should instead save our stomachs for a trip to N2 Extreme Gelato. Thus, instead of surprising the waitress even more, we received our bill in a very cute Peter Pan book. For some reason I enjoyed this immensely, as the book was still intact, and flipping through reminded me of childhood days on a very carefree Friday night!

Cookie is located First Floor/252 Swanston Street (same building as Rooftop Bar), and is open 12pm – 1am Sun-Thu and 12pm – 3am Fri-Sat. Find the menu here.

Cookie on Urbanspoon

Pok Pok Thai Street Food

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Another weekend, another Thai place. However, despite the comparisons to Chin Chin and slight modern influences, I wouldn’t call it fusion or qualify this restaurant in my “Modern Asian” reviews. As the name indicates, the menu is inspired by Thai street food, the owner was born in Bangkok and items like “Hainanese chicken”, I wouldn’t exactly call modern.

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In contradiction to this, the decor definitely screams ‘modern’ (and PINK) from the giant pink elephant and stairs at the entrance, to the pink bar stools in the dining area and large-lantern lights. I felt a little deceived by other blog photos, believing the restaurant to be quite large. However the above picture is the biggest section.  On the other side, there were benches and more stools but not many seats in that area. We were seated to the far left of the above picture, after walking down a little runway (below) to a corner where we were lucky enough to have our own table.

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To start off I ordered an obligatory Thai iced milk tea and my friend ordered an iced coffee. I’m familiar with Vietnamese iced coffees but not Thai ones. The Thai one is less strong, but not too watery and quite tasty. We enjoyed it enough to order another one, allowing me to steal some more sips from my friends’ glasses. My Thai iced milk tea was as expected, although perhaps a tad less flavoursome than others I have tried before – I prefer it a little more orange!  The little silver bowls (below) were for our water.

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We all ordered a meal each with the intention of sharing, and I also suggested the Bangkok Style Fresh Spring Rolls ($7.50, below) as I’d read some good things about them. The ingredients were indeed fresh (chicken, tofu, chinese sausage, beanshoots) but I just felt the pastry/roll part of the dish was bland. It was served with dijon mustard on the side, which I’m not a fan of generally and didn’t seem to go with the spring rolls.

In the end, I had to use some of the dipping sauce that came with our crispy roti bread for our curry – not sure what it was, it was clear with chopped chillies – to make the dish flavoursome enough to eat.

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Speaking of the curry – I chose the Massaman Lamb Curry with Crispy Roti Bread ($14.50, top left) and we all loved it. It also came with potatoes, onions and cashews. It had the typical curry flavour, it wasn’t spicy but slightly sweet – and in a good way. The sauce just kept us coming back to that dish for more, and I was happy enough to not hog all the lamb and drizzle the sauce on my rice to savour it. The “waxy potatoes” (as written on the menu) were cooked with the skin on, which gave an enjoyable texture to the ingredient.

The crispy roti was also flaky and addictive, but we got confused whether to dip it in the aforementioned clear, chilli sauce or the curry itself. I went for the curry! My only issue with this dish, is that it should come with more roti bread and well more of everything really (a bit more ingredients and more sauce). But I guess for a reasonable price of $14.50, compared to the prices of Chin Chin, I shouldn’t complain too much.

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One of the others, in the mood for soup, ordered the Tom Yum King Prawns ($12.50, above). It wasn’t packed with ingredients, coming with only two prawns, but we enjoyed the chilli soup. Finally, my other friend ordered the Twice Cooked Pork Hock “Khao Kha Moo” ($11.50, bottom left), which was passable but nothing amazing.

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The dishes were good, the curry a favourite and the service so-so. We asked for an extra rice, as it didn’t come with the curry, but they seemed to forget. We didn’t bug them as we thought we’d finish our current rice first. When we reminded them later, they brought it out and a man, who I assume is the owner, came over to apologise as they were overwhelmed by a large group of people who came in. Still, rice shouldn’t be too troublesome, but it was nice that he apologised personally.

The other issue is its location, being a bit out of the way in Docklands, it’s not really worth going out of your way unless you want to try that curry. I’ve also heard the Roast Pork Belly and Dry Peppercorn is quite good but you can judge for yourself and let me know! They’re also open for breakfast which sounds interesting – and apparently do very good coffee.

Pok Pok Thai Street Food is open Mon-Wed 7am-4pm, Thu-Fri 7am-10pm and Sat 6-10pm. 

Pok Pok on Urbanspoon