Chatswood, land of excellent Korean and Chinese food, has just landed a snappy new excellent Thai restaurant from an ex-Ms G’s chef
When you see a résumé like Pla Rojratanavichai’s, you make a booking at his brand-new restaurant quick sticks. The head chef has not only taken a swing at Spice I Am
, but has also manned the burners at Ms G’s
and Mr Wong
. It certainly fills us with enough confidence to hop a train to Chatswood.
Do the same and be richly rewarded with the gun chef’s take on a steak tartare (Thaitare?), all salty and lime-heavy, covered in crisp fried shallots. The theme continues with slices of raw scallop fragrant with fresh mint, slices of green onion and cucumber.
There’s a bit of a theme going on here: spicy, innovative takes on classic Thai dishes paired with a whole lot of '90s hip hop. There’s nothing quite like eating deep-fried cubes of light, fluffy tofu tossed in spiced salt with Nas’ Illmatic playing in the background, chased with a delicate, airy fish mousse full on with kaffir lime and a serve of 'Regulate' by Warren G.
You could see how, if Khao Pla were full, it could become incredibly loud. It’s a restaurant of dark, hard surfaces – a place meant for eating well, but quickly. With that in mind, the food rolls out fast and furiously. A serve of meaty pork ribs is sweet and sticky – ask for some chilli vinegar to lift the richness. Southern Thai-style fried chicken is a little under-seasoned and lacks the power punch some of the earlier dishes.
But Rojratanavichai is back on form with his sweet beef massaman curry perfumed with star anise and cinnamon served with an Indian-style soft, thick roti. If you just want in, out and simple, the pad Thai here is reliably delicious with thin noodles, and a big whack of tamarind, lime and chilli.
Desserts here are a two-thumbs-up must – especially the black sticky rice with a thin, sweet dark sugarcane sauce and Thai milk-tea ice cream. We could eat three. Or refresh yourself with a scoop of young coconut sorbet.
Get in before the crowds do.