Gone are the days of bleary-eyed partygoers smoking on the Lounge balcony surrounded by heavy-hitting 4x4 techno beats. Instead, it’s been replaced with the sounds of local Thai crooners on live music nights with a band, that gradually eventuates into diners hitting the dancefloor by the early hours of the morning. This is one of Melbourne’s best Thai joints, Dodee Paidang’s, latest venue – Dodee Thai BBQ.
Red stools litter the venue and the venue packs out early on. With no bookings and long lines reminiscent of its sister venue, it’s to be expected.
Like any venue whose main offering is Thai barbecue, it’s always advised to go for the Thai barbecue set or the Isaan-style jim jum hot pot. Barbecue sets here are designed for either two to three people, or four-plus. Plastic trays come loaded to the brim with raw slices of chicken breast, rashers of bacon, pork belly, mussels, baby octopus, raw egg and tiger prawns. It’s complemented by individual serves of dipping sauces and another tray of uncooked rice vermicelli noodles, sliced up napa cabbage, enoki mushrooms, whole shiitake mushrooms and chrysanthemum leaves. Staff ignite the portable stove and hand you the reins. Grease up the golden dome that awaits with pork fat, fill up the sides with soup and away you go.
There are classic dishes that traditionally feature on Dodee Paidang’s menu on offer too. Blink twice and you might miss the medium-rare slices of Crying Tiger beef and the signature sauce spiked with fish sauce, lime juice and sugar. Craving a whole fish? They’ll dish it up grilled. Seeking a lighter accompaniment? Zhoozh it up with a som tum.
While you’re there why not get swept up in the whole Bangkok experience. How? With a beer tower of course. But these aren’t just any beer towers. These three-litre monsters come equipped with your choice of beer (with Singha obviously being the go) and embody a portable rave complete with multicoloured strobe lights.
Dodee Thai BBQ is chaotic, and that’s what makes it the place to be. A welcomed addition to Swanston Street that’s buzzing at any given time and breathing much-needed life back into the city.