There’s a new Thai restaurant in Collingwood that’s a playful and tasty place to take the in-laws
Son in law eggs – those gnarly, deep-fried ovoid rascals teamed with a tangy tamarind sauce – are a popular Thai street food with an amusing back story. According to tradition, mothers serve these up to their son-in-law as a warning: mess with my daughter and I mess with your goolies. Wince.
Son in Law, named after this tasty, if cautionary, snack, is Collingwood’s latest Thai restaurant, from the owners of Chapel Street’s Ayatana. The place is aimed at a younger demographic, so you’ll see more playful fusions on the menu like fish cake sliders or beef tacos alongside traditional dishes such as massaman curry and pad thai. Greet the lucky waving cat on your way in, pull up a seat at a simple timber table in the split-level dining area and take in the hot pink signage, sky blue doors and sunny yellow walls.
Hopefully you've brought your crew – you'll want to order as many 'small plates' as possible. You could try the sliders, but you're in better company with the spinach-green betel leaves, topped with toasted coconut, peanuts, mint, lime and a fried prawn and drizzled with a sticky-sweet tamarind sauce (which drips all-too readily down greedy paws, mind). Hot on the ginger as these crunchy little flavour bombs are, they could definitely do with more citrusy lime zing. The tiger prawns, four stout battered crustaceans presented in pyramid shape, are spruced up with a mild chilli jam, little curls of lemon grass and mint and coriander for extra fragrance.
There’s a selection of Thai-inspired cocktails (including one spicy Sriracha sauce number) and beers and wines that will enhance the possibilities of the spices. The lime flavours of the Jim Barry Watervale Riesling and the melon and lemongrass of the Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc will stand up to any spiciness the menu throws at you. The majority of beers are Australian, with just two from Asia, Singha and Asahi. Any minor mouth combustions can be extinguished with the exceptionally moreish coconut water.
Green chicken curry may be a Thai classic, but Son in Law’s version shows how it attained that status. Exceptionally creamy, it’s a pleasure from start to bowl-licking end. Order some coconut rice for a double coconut hit. A generous and fleshy barramundi fillet is steamed with ginger, soy and sliced mushroom, its cleaner favours providing a quiet contrast to other dishes’ heat and richness.
Desserts are just three: Marshmallow and Nutella puff, ice cream or mini coconut pandan puddings. Textured like a dense, glutinous custard, the latter bring a comforting conclusion to the meal, although the pandan flavour is subtle to the point of elusive.
Son in Law is a charming and dependable addition to Collingwood. With sweet hospitality and flavours that are more friendly than feisty, it’s an affordable place to get a Thai fix. You could even bring the in-laws.
|Venue name:||Son in Law|
56 Johnston St
|Opening hours:||Tue-Fri 5.30-11.30pm; Sat, Sun 11.30am-11.30pm|
|Transport:||Nearby stations: Victoria Park|