Tuesday 13 December 2011

Southern Thai cafe Middle Fish now open in Carlton

Middle Fish
122-128 Berkeley Street, Carlton (map)
Monday-Friday 7am-5pm, Saturday-Sunday 10am-4pm

Middle Fish

Two warehouses up from Seven Seeds you'll find Middle Fish, a Thai cafe that opened very quietly on Thursday. Middle Fish is a labour of love for the delightful Thai-born Siriporn "Pla" Liamthong and her partner David Holtum. Pla's auntie Na Sauw is in charge of the kitchen, and it's the first time she's ever left Thailand. Result: her cooking is about as close to the real thing as you can get in Melbourne.

Making Som Tum

I popped in one afternoon, ordered a serve of som tum ($12.50) and watched it being made in front of me. It tasted just like the som tum I had in Thailand last year, ie delicious and very spicy with lots of bird's eye chilli seeds - almost too spicy for my tastebuds, truth be told. Pla noted me reaching repeatedly for cold milk and asked for feedback regarding the chilli levels in the food: I said to err on the side of keeping it authentic, and perhaps make a note on the menu that the chilli may be a little more intense than we're used to in Melbourne Thai restaurants. Good advice, d'you think?

Som Tum

A gorgeous warehouse space, is it not? In fitting it out Pla and David collaborated with Thai artist Torlarp Larpjaroensook, who created many custom-made pieces for Middle Fish including the wrought-iron fish leaping out of waves on the wall, several paintings, cutlery, crockery and the arrestingly beautiful chandeliers.

Middle Fish

Photos below of khai luuk kheuy (son-in-law egg), David and Pla. When I visited the full menu was not yet available, but apart from the odd Isaan dish the breakfast/lunch menu focuses on food from Southern Thailand. Provided all goes well, Middle Fish may start to open in the evening sometime in the future.

Son in law eggDavid and Pla

A wonderfully fresh pandan cupcake (made for the cafe by a Thai friend) rounded off the meal nicely. Coffee-wise, there're using Five Senses beans and hope to import Thai beans in the future to make Thai-style coffee and iced coffee. Pla worked for years in several St Ali/Sal Malatesta cafes including Caffeine, Sensory Lab and Outpost.

Pandan cupcakeTuk-tuk

Loved the fact that the lightbulb on this tuk-tuk painting lights up! As you can probably tell, I was quite smitten by Middle Fish and I wish it every success.

Light bulb


Temasek said...

The space looks amazing!!! Can't wait to check it out. Maybe this is a start of a new Thai food revolution in Melbourne to rival the far superior (lets face it) offerings in Sydney. And Claire, it has to be hot! Or not at all.

jon said...

Seems to be missing the crucial bikes hanging on the wall. How they can call themselves a Melbourne cafe without them I have no idea!

lenĂ­ said...

Went before i read your post and loved it! I had the fish curry soup which was spicy hot but had to be! They forgot the beans/spinach(?) in coconut at first but when poured over from a separate little bowl the flavour combo was *POW*. Will be back for sure.

Esz said...

Ooh - good authentic Thai - how great to hear. And close to home too! I converted the BF to Thai a while ago so I think I'll be able to drag him here without too much protest.

Fenn said...

Holy crap, this looks amazing and quite unlike any Thai restaurant in Melbourne so far (great photos too, btw).

I want to go to there.

Anonymous said...

It all looks so bright and fresh!! Love it!

Daisy@Nevertoosweet said...

Perfect! I just was in thailand in July and since then i've been craving authentic thai food!!! YUMMMM!!! Now I know where to go for good food ~

Mike said...

Tried this on the weekend. Yeah, um...it's a little bit awesome ;)