It is Friday night and Renee, Aiselade , Keith, Dee and I are meeting up for dinner to farewell our buddy Keith back to L.A. ( Boo.)
Our taste buds were hungering for some good and tasty Thai food – and we head over to ‘Chat Thai’ in hope to find a table for five on a Friday evening. Of course, we rock up to find that about half of Chinatown was also queuing up for a table there and we were told that our wait would be at least an hour. ( I guess ‘Chat Thai’ will be saved for another time…)
Not to worry, we head across the road to the Capitol Square Arcade and found another Thai restaurant,’ @ Bangkok Restaurant’ – although buzzing , it didn’t look as packed as their rivalry neighbours ‘ Chat Thai’ – we ask for a table of five and was also told we have a 20 minute wait. So taking yet another ticket, I leave my contact number and name and wait for them to call us once a table was ready. In the meantime, we all decided to check out the popular ‘Asian hangout’ of the Japanese Photo booths upstairs. ( It is one of Renee’s favourite past times, and it was also her idea that we all get in a booth and get happy snappy – and it was settled – that she, being the only Cauciasian out of all of us, she was the most Asian! heheh)
The upper level of Capitol Square is pretty amusing. I remember when it was first opened back in my mid-high school years and Japanese sticker photo booths trend were all the rave – I have a little booklet still with all my ‘sticker photo’ collections in them! Looking back then to now, this whole top level has been transformed into a mini ‘Japan’ with machines the size of solarium’s and a small Asian unit – it is just as bright ( to ensure your skin looks picture perfect within the crazy photo shoots…) and just as tiny, but hilarious when you try and squeeze your whole entourage in while trying to strut 3 poses in 3 seconds – also to top it off, each machine comes blaring its very own ‘theme’ song. The machine we chose had the ‘Under The Sea’ theme with the Disney song sung in Japanese and English. Amusing. ( And darn – this song is still in my head!)
We chose a machine, we feed it $18 worth of one dollar coins, we cram in, we place our hand bags and coats in the allocated ‘ luggage space’ ( yes – they even consider this for every machine, how very thoughtful!) We then choose our ‘background’ settings and get ready for some manic moments of posing. The fun starts as you see the screen count down and instructs you to pose – it was chaos for the next 3 minutes as we pose and strut while laughing our heads off as we tried our best ‘asian ‘V’ poses + Zoolander’ This was all crazily manuovered within the small contained space with a green background ( this is so,cute and kitch backgrounds such as ‘ice creams’ and polka dot back drops can be added in our photo…as we pretend to ‘lick a giangantic ice cream’ and posing like Japanese school girls. In only a few moments of flurry, our photo shoot was over and we are all exhausted but had lots of fun! Good idea Renee! x
Being a model, sure ain’t easy – as our ‘photo shoot’ was exhausting yet hilarious. Not satisfied with just the posing, we also get to spend at least 10 minutes decorating our photo in a separate booth on the side. We managed to give each other ‘bows’ in our hair and Keith even managed to get a ‘moustache’ while Aise looked like she was posing for an ‘R&B’ album with the added ‘bling’ to her smile. Gotta love these Japanese inventions – these machines are incredible, just imagine the ones invented for the future will actually get you looking like those ‘wided eyed and somewhat ‘manga-ish’ Japanese girls on the posters outside the booths’….scary.
About the time the photos were finished and printed – we were all hungry and ready for dinner yet still no sign of neither of the restaurants calling back.
So our final plan was to hit ‘Thainatown Restaurant’ a firm favourite often recommended by my Thai friends. Thinking the queues should somewhat be shorted as this is away from the ‘restaurant hub area’ – we find that we still had to wait for a table, but wasn’t as long as the other two. By now I have three different tab tickets …. I could start a raffle!
Thankfully the wait was not long – about 10 minutes and we were given a table just enough to squeeze all five of us on.
The set up is casual – a good old ‘fast and furious’ Asian restaurant – cafe style, without fussy decor but rather the focus seem to be on delivering your food fast, fresh and tasty to the table ( even if the table was struggling for space a little). Below the red neon ‘Thainatown’ sign displayed outside the front – the owners will proudly tell you that it was featured in ‘The Good Eating Guide 2002′ and ‘The Sydney Morning Herald Restaurant Review 2006′
I have been here a couple of times and each time the food has been spot on with valuable and authentic Thai food and given the high raving reviews and recommendations – I was confident that we were in for a good, fast and ‘happy wallet’ type of meal. My stomach rumbles.
We ordered the Tom Yum Soup with chicken. Aise was hanging for something soupy and this hit the spot with the right amount of ‘zing!’ chilli and sourness along with the chicken and mushroom, that makes this super comforting to start the palatte off for a meal. The button mushrooms floating on top also grabbed Renee’s attention as she scoops in for a bite and loved the taste. Tom Yum yum!
Next comes the Papaya Salad. Strings of papya is mixed in with a salty and tangy dressing laced with crunchy peanuts, dried shrimp, garlic and plenty of red chillis. We had asked for this salad to be ‘not too hot’ – as I was sharing the story of how my Hubby had lost his hearing temporarily while eating an ‘untamed’ Papya Salad on our honeymoon at Phuket as it was laced with not 3 chillis but 10! Apparently this is the normal number of chillis for a standard salad…… We have since learned to ask for ‘mild’
This salad was delicious and fiery and definitely has a kick – so be prepared to eat a few mouthful of rice to balance the heat, but this is super addictive and leaves you wanting more as your taste buds goes from hot to sour and crunchy from the peanuts and papaya. I love it and enjoy it mixed with some white rice.
The Chicken Pad Thai was the table’s favourite. I love the version at Thainatown, as they use the ‘skinner’ version of the noodles and the sauce that it is stir fried in, is not over bearing but just right with the balance of salty and slight sweetness and crunchy from the bean sprouts and toasted peanuts. Renee happily orders a plate just for herself as she prefers not to share this tasty dish with anyone else – shows how good this is! She is a happy girl while eating this and adds in more dried chilli flakes for added kick.
Dee’s favourite dish is this – No# 55 (?) The Crispy pork belly with stir fried veggies. A simple yet tasty dish. Who can resist a plate of bite size crunchy pork belly with asian greens? This was delicious with the white rice and a good dish to balance the heat from the other dishes, giving the taste buds a rest from the chilli!
Last but not the least, is ‘The Crying Tiger’ Beef. Got to love the name by itself – but tastes even better, with tender pieces of steak marinated in a brown sauce, char grilled to a smokey sensation and sprinkled with dried chilli flakes.
The accompanied sauce was perfect with again a mixture of sweetness, saltiness and chilli to give the beef extra flavour and moisten the char grilled appearance of the beef. Aise seem to like this one alot and we happily fill our tummies and sit back full and satisfied as we enjoyed our hot Jasmine tea which everyone was pleased with.
In all, we had enjoyed our dinner at Thainatown thouroughly and as tempting as it was to order their yummy deserts, we had decided we will continue on our ‘Food Safari Dinner’ elsewhere with desert aimed at ‘Passion Flower’ ( as Aise, Keith and Renee had not been there before)
Passionflower Desert Safari…. to be continued.
Ps. We will miss you Keith! Safe trip back to L.A and see you real soon! xxx
Phone (02) 9211 0090