Monday, January 25, 2010

Chat Thai - Haymarket

Chat Thai
20 Campbell St
NSW 2000
(02) 9976 2939

First, a health warning. Those of you who have a weak stomach that vomits at the sight of vomit, sounds of someone vomiting (you all know what that sounds like..) or even the hint of someone vomiting, please stop reading now! After a meal at Chat Thai, it did make me violently ill, which I have not done for a long time. No, it’s not because I had food poisoning. And it’s not that the food was bad. In fact, the food was fabulous. I shall explain.

The first thing that contributed to my illness was the long wait in the queue, 97 minutes to be exact.  We had been warned about the queue but it still didn’t quite prepare me for the very long wait.

Once inside however, the speedy service and the smiling waitress made up for the long wait. I really liked the décor with the open kitchen, exposed brick work, dark wooden furniture and dimly lit room with funky light fittings; it is moody but not seedy. The room was filled with a lovely smokey smell from the grill in the open kitchen, and it made me even more hungry than before!
Of course we started with a selection of satay, Gai Satay (chicken satay) ($2.50ea) and Mu Bhing (pork skewers marinated in galangal, lemongrass and garlic) ($2.50ea). Both were succulent and smokey from the grill. The chicken satay had a wonderfully peanutty sauce, with the pickled cucumber cutting through the sweetness of the sauce. The pork skewers was served with a relish of ground rice, roasted chillies, palm sugar, tamarind essence and hint of tomato.

Tort Mun Pla ($9) was described as “little dollops of redfish mousse fried and served with a salsa of cucumber, red onions, sweet chilli and sprinkled with peanuts and coriander”. Essentially, bite size fish cakes. Very nice fish cakes I might add.

If there is pork belly on the menu, I simply can not resist, hence the Kana Moogrob (sitr fry of Chinese broccoli and sliced crispy pork belly) ($14) was a no brainer. My bias towards pork belly aside, it was my dish of the night. The Chinese broccoli was not overcooked and maintained its crunch while the pork belly was crispy and tender at the same time. Yum!

Bpla Choo Chee ($26) is a whole snapper deep fried served in a red curry made from paste of galangal, kaffir limes, lemongrass, palm sugar, garlic and roasted red chillies. The fish is overcooked with the flesh a tad dry but the curry sauce was great with an amazing depth of flavour.

Ship and Shore ($15) is a warm salad with chicken, pork, prawns and fried egg, dressed with a smokey chilli jam, mint, coriander and Spanish onions. Chat Thai version of surf and turf I guess. I must admit that it sounds better than it tasted. It was simply a mixed bag of different things that ended up tasting all very similar.

I just couldn’t resist ordering another dish from the grill. Bpla Muek Yang ($16) is simply chargrilled squid with fresh chilli relish. The squid was cooked beautifully. Extremely tender but still with some resistance when biting into it. Just beautiful.

Desserts certainly deserved a completely different menu, and it is interesting in that different desserts are available at different times of the day. For example the banana fritters are only available during lunchtime but not dinner. Regardless, the Mango with Sticky Rice and Coconut Cream is a classic Thai dish.  The mango was ripe but not particularly sweet for some reason. The coconut ice-cream was simply that. Coconuty.....

So why did I get sick???  After waiting for so long, the speedy service and the great food meant that I scoffed down WAY too much food WAY too quickly. I had difficulty getting out of my chair and had to wait for a good 15 minutes to compose myself before I was able to drive home. Lying in bed as soon as I got home, I had a vision... Now I know exactly what a beached whale must feel like... would I go back? ABSOLUTELY!!



mademoiselle délicieuse said...

The wait is a pain there but, oh, the food is sooo worth it!

Anonymous said...

You ate so much you were sick? Maybe this is a wake-up call to tighten your belt and donate to Haiti.

Anonymous said...

Wow! You censored my comment! I guess criticism of over consumption isn't welcome on this site.

The Sydney Tarts said...

@mademoiselle délicieuse - Indeed :)

@Anonymous - We did not censor your comment. We have moderated comments on this blog because of the problems we were having from bots. We had simply not yet seen and processed your comment. We welcome all comments, but if you have something to say, positive or negative, you may wish to consider standing by your praises or criticisms by leaving a name with your comments. At the very least, we will then know that the comments are from the same person. A few comments from "anonymous" does not necessarily mean the same "anonymous".

As for donating to Haiti - He was only reviewing his personal dinner experience at Chat Thai that night and further, how can you know whether the author of this post has donated or not?

Sam said...

To Anonymous- How does anyone know that you've donated to Haiti? Unless of course you donated anonymously...