Tuesday 20 March 2012

Thai in Hawthorn at Bangkok Terrace

Bangkok Terrace
415 Riversdale Road, Hawthorn (map)
9882 5995
Open 7 nights

Bangkok Terrace kitchen

The open kitchen, sharp fitout and zippy black-clad staff calling out in Thai makes Bangkok Terrace feel more Haymarket than Hawthorn. I went there with my family the other week, my expectations raised because I'd heard that that one of the owners cheffed at Sailors Thai in Sydney for several years. Maybe Melbourne now had a Sydney Thai restaurant to call its own?

Bangkok Terrace

The highlight of the meal was the mouth-watering steak Laos ($18.90): Wagyu rump cap marinated, grilled rare, sliced and served with salad and nam jim jaew (a dipping sauce made from ground rice, roasted chillies, palm sugar, tamarind essence and tomatoes).

Steak Laos

Also excellent was the roasted duck salad ($18.90) with coriander, mint and eschallots. Beautifully crisp lacquered skin.

Roasted duck salad

My take on the other dishes was less enthusiastic: the salt and pepper calamari ($10.90) was pretty good, but the betel leaves with prawns and roe ($3 each) lacked the chilli kick I was hoping for. Both the Panang curry ($17.90) and Pad See Ewe ($18.90), in sorry Melbourne Thai restaurant tradition, were too sweet. I wish they wouldn't play it so safe, but instead dial up the sour and the chilli on some of the dishes, à la Chin Chin or Middle Fish.

Salt and pepper calamariBetel leaf with prawn
Penang curryPad See ewe

There's the usual bitching about poor service on Bangkok Terrace's Urbanspoon entry, but we found the staff to be friendly and efficient despite the clamour of the full restaurant. I'd happily go back to Bangkok Terrace (the siren song of the steak Laos is calling), but I'd steer clear of the mild and sweet dishes. Reader recommendations for best Thai in Melbourne warmly received...


I haven't been to either yet, but if you're in the neighbourhood you might also like to check out Firechief pizzeria and adjoining cafe Goldilocks, two of the six businesses Melbourne chef Paul Mathis is opening this year.


Sarah said...

Ah! That restaurant is in my area, I'd always wondered if it'd be worth a visit or not! I think I might pop in now :)

I absolutely agree with you re: the sweetness of Thai food in Melbourne. I've found that in many suburban Thai restaurants, if they're run by Thais, you can ask for the food to be made "Thai Hot", which makes it much more satisfying!

xox Sarah

Ashley said...

Always on the lookout for Thai places nearby, place looks nice, shame about the sweetness levels though. Still have yet to find a Thai place I absolutely love!

Mike said...

Best thai in Melbourne?...hmmm...I'd go for Ying Thai 2 in Carlton or Appetizer Thai in the city :)

They definitely don't tone down the heat, and if you're looking for sweet go elsewhere!

Special K said...

A Thai "neighbour" I wholeheartedly recommend is Saffron, corner of Riversdale & Auburn Road. Not a full blown restaurant but it does have a dining area - although we always get take out.

We have been weekly regulars since discovering them in December.

Nathaniel Stockley said...

Had noted their review in The Age, Epicure last month. Fit out certainly looks lovely.

After visiting David Thompson's Nahm in Bangkok a couple of times, my perspective of Thai food and expectations have altered forever.

I've virtually given up on finding a true Thai restaurant in Melbourne, although, I quite like the casual cafes such as Ying Thai in Richmond & Me Dee in Springvale. The food at these simple places is about as close as I've found to the dishes I order whilst in Thailand.

I wonder if David Thompson could be persuaded to open a branch of Nahm in Melbourne ?

Ani Mendez said...

mmm! nice food!n

Rumpole said...

As I think you know, I've been to Bangkok Terrace on several occasions now and think it is terrific. I think you sold the calamari short - beautifully tender and fresh, much better than OK! And although I too had the betel leaf prawns on the night you were there and agree they were not as chilli hot as I would have liked, on other occasions when I've eaten there they've been quite a bit feistier. Unfortunately your review comes across overall as rather more of a put-down than I think this excellent place deserves; only one dish was too sweet, I thought.

April said...

I've gone past this restaurant a few times and always wondered if it was any good. Thanks for the review.

Pad See Ew is the same price as a plate of Wagyu rumpcap?! I know what I'll be spending my $19 on!

I second Special K about Thai Saffron. I've been there a few times and asked for mild for my dishes. I still end up with a burning mouth so that place might be right up your alley! It's nothing fancy inside, but good Thai food.